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Signs & Symptoms of Pneumonia in Dogs

Signs & Symptoms of Pneumonia in Dogs

Did you know that dogs can get pneumonia? In this post, our Gold Canyon vets talk about the signs and symptoms of pneumonia in dogs and how you can help your dog recover.

Pneumonia in Dogs

Pneumonia affects a dog's respiratory system and interferes with their ability to breathe normally (just like in humans). Thankfully, dogs usually recover well from pneumonia with treatment. But, if the condition is left untreated more serious conditions can arise. It's also important to note that some types of pneumonia are harder to treat than others.

Viral & Bacterial Infectious Pneumonia in Dogs

Infectious pneumonia also called bacterial pneumonia, is the most common type of pneumonia among dogs. Infectious pneumonia is caused by a viral or bacterial infection in a dog's respiratory tract. Bordetella bronchiseptica is one of the bacterias that are most commonly linked to infectious pneumonia in our canine companions and can spread easily between senior dogs, puppies, and dogs that have compromised immune systems.

Signs & Symptoms of Bacterial Pneumonia in Dogs

If your dog is suffering from infectious pneumonia or bacterial pneumonia, they may exhibit one or more of these symptoms:

  • Lethargy
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Runny nose
  • High fever
  • Difficulty exercising
  • Nasal whistling
  • Breathing difficulties

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Irregular breathing
If your dog has been diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia we recommend keeping them separated from the other pets in your home, and washing bedding, bowls, collars, and leashes frequently to help keep this disease from spreading. Also, be sure to wash your hands immediately after petting or handling a dog that has infectious pneumonia.

Aspiration Pneumonia in Dogs

Dogs can develop aspiration pneumonia if they accidentally inhale vomit or medication, have an abnormality in their pharynx, or are suffering from a neuromuscular disorder that affects their respiratory function. In some cases, an enlargement of the lower esophagus from frequent regurgitation caused by acid reflux can cause aspiration pneumonia, as well as an incorrectly placed feeding tube.

Symptoms & Signs of Dog Aspiration Pneumonia

The signs of aspiration pneumonia are similar to most respiratory infections in dogs, as well as the symptoms of bacterial pneumonia and can include: 

  • Lethargy
  • Coughing
  • Irregular breathing
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Wheezing
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal whistling
  • Difficulty exercising
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • High fever

However, aspiration pneumonia could also cause other symptoms such as:

  • Altered mood
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Frequent regurgitation
  • Bluish skin

If your dog is showing any signs of aspiration pneumonia, call your vet as quickly as you can to arrange an appointment. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent more severe symptoms that are harder to treat.

Treating Dogs With Pneumonia

Once your dog has been diagnosed with infectious bacterial or aspiration pneumonia, your vet will most likely prescribe medications to help control the symptoms such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for fever and pain, and bronchodilators and expectorants for coughing and breathing problems. In severe cases, your dog might have to be hospitalized and given fluid therapy, supplemental oxygen, or intravenous antibiotics.

Our veterinary team in Gold Canyon can use internal medicine to treat a range of conditions in dogs including pneumonia, however, if your animal requires treatment beyond our capabilities we will refer you to a veterinary internist near you.

How To Help Your Dog Recover From Pneumonia

Your vet will provide you with specific instructions on how to care for your dog during their recovery from pneumonia. However, we have listed some general tips below to help you care for your dog at home:

  • Keep other pets and small children away from your dog in order to give them adequate rest.
  • Restrict your dog's activities during their recovery.
  • Provide your dog with a steam treatment by running a hot shower while you sit with your dog in the shower room or bathroom.
  • Supply your pup with lots of fresh water to help keep them hydrated as they recover.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Contact our Gold Canyon vets as quickly as possible if your dog is showing signs of pneumonia or having difficulty breathing because it is considered a veterinary emergency.

New Patients Welcome

Companion Pet Clinic of Gold Canyon is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

(480) 671-1403 Contact Companion Pet Clinic