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Dog Pneumonia: Symptoms, Prognosis, and Treatment for Dog Pneumonia

Pneumonia in a dog

If you have noticed that your dog is coughing, has lost its vigor, is reluctant to take up physical activity, and even if it happens to run a little, it gets tired very quickly and gives up playing - go to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

These can be signs that your dog is seriously ill and, if ignored, could be catastrophic.

In this study, you will learn about one of the causes of shortness of breath in a dog, namely Fr pneumonia in your dog.

I describe the causes, types and treatment options for this disease entity.

Find out more about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of lung inflammation. I invite you to read!

  • The respiratory system of the dog
  • Pneumonia in a dog
    • Classification of pneumonia
  • Viral pneumonia in a dog
  • Bacterial pneumonia in dogs
    • Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia in dogs
    • Diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia in dogs
    • Treatment of bacterial pneumonia in dogs
    • Prognosis
  • Fungal pneumonia
    • Dog fungal pneumonia symptoms
    • Diagnosis of fungal pneumonia in dogs
    • Treatment of fungal pneumonia in dogs
  • Pneumonia caused by pulmonary parasites
  • Dog lung eosinophilic disease
    • The causes of eosinophilic pneumonia
    • Dog eosinophilic pneumonia symptoms
    • Diagnosis of eosinophilic pneumonia
    • Treatment of eosinophilic pneumonia in dogs
  • Aspiration pneumonia in a dog
    • Dog aspiration pneumonia symptoms
    • Diagnostics of aspiration pneumonia
    • Treatment of aspiration pneumonia in dogs
    • Prognosis of aspiration pneumonia
  • Chronic Fibrosing Pneumonia West Highland White Terriers
    • Chronic fibrosing pneumonia symptoms
    • Chronic fibrosing pneumonia diagnosis
    • Chronic fibrosing pneumonia treatment
    • Chronic fibrosing pneumonia prognosis

The respiratory system of the dog

The respiratory system of the dog

The respiratory system in a dog, due to its communication with the outside world, is one of the simplest ways for a variety of harmful substances and pathogens to enter the body.

The mucosa, lining the respiratory tract and the respiratory epithelium are constantly exposed to various compounds and microorganisms.

In healthy dogs, properly functioning elements of the immune system and the cleaning mechanisms of the airways constantly neutralize pathogens that enter the lungs with the inhaled air.

It happens, however, that the amount, virulence or toxicity of these compounds or pathogens is so high that the system cannot fight them on its own.

Then, diseases develop, with bacterial infections of various parts of the respiratory system being one of the most frequent reasons for consulting a veterinarian.

The respiratory system as a whole has been conventionally divided into the upper and lower respiratory tract and the pleural cavity.

The upper respiratory tract includes:

  • nasal passages,
  • nasopharynx,
  • larynx,
  • trachea (its part, located in front of the chest).

The lower respiratory tract includes:

  • trachea (its intrathoracic section),
  • bronchi,
  • alveoli.

The upper respiratory tract of healthy dogs is normally home to many microorganisms, most of which are normal flora.

Well-functioning defense mechanisms of the organism prevent the entry of many bacteria and foreign bodies into further parts of the respiratory system.

They do it so efficiently that the bronchi are already contaminated with only a small amount of microorganisms.

And although the trachea, bronchial tree and lungs are not perfectly sterile, in most cases bacteria isolated in these areas do not cause infectious lung diseases.

How does it happend?

At the very beginning of the aspiration, the inhaled air is filtered in an extremely complicated network of nasal turbinates.

It is here that a great deal of not only bacteria is trapped, but also dust and small foreign bodies.

Larger foreign bodies irritate the upper respiratory tract mucosa, causing sneezing and coughing; this type of cleansing is additionally supported by the action of mucus and the mechanism of the ciliary epithelium.

Apart from the mechanical cleaning of the respiratory tract, there are many other defense factors, including: present in the mucosa B lymphocytes, producing antibodies (Ig A), complement complex, different kind anti-inflammatory substances, cytokines, chemokines, macrophages, dendritic cells and many others.

All these mechanisms protect the lung against the ingress of pathogenic particles or microorganisms.

And as long as they do it efficiently enough that pathogens do not excessively enter the lower respiratory tract, everything is fine.

However, if there is an aspiration of harmful substances or the number of bacteria that have crowded into the lower regions of the respiratory system will exceed 107 colony forming units / ml - lung inflammation develops.

Pneumonia in a dog

One of the more serious respiratory problems in dogs is pneumonia. Dog pneumonia, i.e. pneumonia, is a serious clinical condition related to the lungs, in which the inflammation takes place in the lungs and can be caused by various factors (not only infectious).

Pneumonia in a dog

This is a very dangerous condition because it quickly leads to respiratory failure, hypoxia in the body and a number of metabolic consequences that can subsequently occur death the animal.

Since the lungs as an organ have a very large surface area, they constitute a large area through which inflammatory mediators and endotoxins can be absorbed from the bloodstream, and an important place through which bacteria enter the respiratory system.

Hence, dogs with pneumonia require intensive treatment as soon as possible.

Classification of pneumonia

There are many types of pneumonia classifications, the most common of which are:

Classification according to the etiological factor causing inflammation.

And so we can deal with the following types of pneumonia:

  • bacterial pneumonia,
  • viral pneumonia,
  • fungal pneumonia,
  • parasitic pneumonia,
  • allergic pneumonia,
  • chemical pneumonia (also belongs to this group aspiration pneumonia),
  • idiopathic pneumonia (where the immediate cause of the disease cannot be identified).

Classification of pneumonia in relation to the structures that the inflammatory process involves

  • bronchopneumonia - bronchopneumonia; the inflammatory process involves the alveoli and their associated bronchioles and bronchi;
  • interstitial pneumonia (pneumonitis) - affects only the interstitial tissue of the lungs, without involvement of the alveoli and bronchi;
  • focal or disseminated pneumonia, in which the lesions are found in a specific area (or areas - with multifocal lesions) or are generalized;
  • lobe pneumonia means that the pathological changes affect the lobe of the lung; this type of inflammation often develops in the course of aspiration, when as a result of aspiration of the chyme, it goes to a specific area of ​​the lungs.

Classification of pneumonia due to the dominant type of cells involved in the inflammatory process

  • eosinophilic pneumonia,
  • neutrophilic pneumonia.

Classification of pneumonia according to the type of exudate

  • purulent pneumonia,
  • fibrinous pneumonia,
  • granulomatous pneumonia,
  • gangrenous pneumonia.

Classification of pneumonia due to the duration of the process

  • acute pneumonia,
  • subacute pneumonia,
  • chronic pneumonia.

As you can see, pneumonia can take many forms, sizes and severities, and whether it develops inflammation of the respiratory system and the possible picture of the disease depends on many variables, including:

  • the type of etiological factors (their virulence, intensity of action, route of entry, quantity);
  • the presence of confusing factors (e.g. often there is a complication of the inflammatory process by bacteria);
  • the presence of predisposing factors;
  • the condition of the body, i.e. the general condition of the animal, the efficiency of its immune system, whether there are other diseases (e.g. chronic bronchitis), and even the age of the dog (for example, puppies - in the so-called. immunological gap, when maternal antibodies gradually disappear, and own antibodies have not yet been formed - they are more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections);
  • environmental conditions in which the animal is.

All these factors - individually or in any combination - play an important role not only in the development of pneumonia, but also affect the severity of clinical symptoms when a full-blown disease develops.

Now let's move on to the characteristics of each type of pneumonia, taking into account their root causes.

Viral pneumonia in a dog

Despite the fact that the lower respiratory tract can be attacked by various types of viruses (e.g. canine adenovirus type II, canine parainfluenza virus, or even distemper virus), however, it is very rare that this type of infection is manifested only by pneumonia.

If it is clinically manifested, it is rather caused by bacteria that complicate the whole process.

Bacterial pneumonia in dogs

Bacterial pneumonia in dogs

It's a type of dog's pneumonia that responds to pathogenic bacteria.

It is characterized by the accumulation of exudate and inflammatory cells in the alveoli and airways.

Pathogenic microorganisms can enter the respiratory system in several ways:

  • along with inhaled air,
  • when you aspirate bacterial aerosols from the mouth or the back of the throat (such a source of bacteria can be a dental infection or tartar in your dog),
  • with foreign bodies or food from the esophagus or stomach (in case of reflux, vomiting in a dog, pouring),
  • by passing from neighboring systems (by tissue contact),
  • through the bloodstream (from another source of infection that is outside the lung tissue).

In healthy dogs, microorganisms, inhaled together with air, are naturally cleared by the physiological defenses of the respiratory system.

For this reason, most contamination with pathogens can be found in the upper respiratory tract (nasal cavity, pharynx, larynx), but in dogs with an efficient immune system, they are not the cause of infection.

This happens if the number of bacteria does not exceed the value 107 microorganisms / ml or there is no aspiration of gastric juice at the same time.

Unfortunately, if the defenses fail, the bacteria are inhaled further - into the lower levels of the respiratory system, i.e. into the trachea or bronchi, and even the lungs, where they can cause or complicate an existing infection. There are certain types of bacteria that have a great affinity for the respiratory tract and are the primary source of infection. Such pathogens include e.g. Bordetella bronchiseptica and beta-hemolytic streptococci. It is bordetella bronchiseptica and beta-hemolytic streptococci that may be the main microorganisms in pneumonia in dogs.

In most cases, however, bacterial infections are most often of a secondary nature. This means that they complicate the inflammatory process that is already taking place within the lungs.

The most commonly isolated bacteria with lung tissue infections are:

Pasteurella spp.

These are relatively anaerobic bacteria that are often isolated from tracheal washings from dogs with pneumonia.

Pasteurella is found in the nasopharynx and upper respiratory tract of dogs and cats.

Predisposing factors, such as. simultaneous viral infections facilitate the migration of bacteria and their multiplication in the lower respiratory tract.

If the defenses are inadequate, bacterial pneumonia develops with infiltration of inflammatory cells and the production of inflammatory mediators.

This leads to the formation of a fibrous-purulent exudate characteristic of infections with this bacterium.

This type of inflammation resolves slowly and can lead to abscesses and pleurisy.

Klebsiella spp.

Klebsiella sticks they inhabit the nasopharynx and intestines.

Most often, infections with these bacteria affect the digestive system, urinary tract or take the form of bacteremia.

Klebsiella pneumoniae can cause severe forms of pneumonia.

Escherichia coli.

They are relatively anaerobic sticks that live mainly in the end sections of the gastrointestinal tract.

They most often reach the lower parts of the respiratory system from the areas of the nasal cavity and throat (previously colonized by them).

They can cause infections secondary to viral infections, over a long period of time treatment with antibiotics or glucocorticosteroids, in diseases with bone marrow suppression and in the weakening of the immune system.

A complication of Escherichia coli infections may be infections of other organs, including:

  • joints,
  • meninges,
  • glomerulus,
  • the uveal membrane,
  • lung damage, leading to respiratory failure.

These bacteria are the most common component of mixed respiratory infections, rarely spontaneously causing pneumonia in dogs.

Pseudomonas spp.

They belong to bacteria frequently found in the environment and sometimes they live on mucous membranes.

These bacteria are most often found in the course of inflammation of the external auditory canal, skin, bladder, and inflammation of the respiratory tract in dogs.

It happens that in dogs with an impaired immune system it occurs bacteremia, induced by Psudomonas.

Streptococcus spp.

They are relatively anaerobic Gram-positive cocci, which are isolated from dogs with pneumonia in 14-47% of cases.

The transmission of germs can take place by aerogenic, alimentary or indirect route - through contact with a contaminated environment.

After streptococcus enters the alveoli, pneumonia develops, the severity of which depends on the virulence of the germs.

Severe and fatal cases are known in dogs streptococcal pneumonia, caused by group C streptococci that developed secondary to a viral infection.

Immunodeficiency promotes infections with these bacteria.

Bordetella bronchiseptica

Bordetella bronchiseptica is the most common bacterial infectious agent and is generally associated with canine tracheobronchitis, but it also has the potential to cause pneumonia.

Bordetella bronchiseptica is one of the primary respiratory pathogens in dogs and cats.

Bordetella bronchiseptica is transmitted by inhalation.

A symptom bordetelosis he is dry, paroxysmal cough, triggered especially after exercise or emotional overstimulation.

Anaerobic bacteria can be part of a mixed infection (especially in the course of aspiration pneumonia).

Sometimes they are also isolated mycoplasmas.

Various non-infectious agents can also lead to pneumonia (although the development of the disease depends on complicated bacteria).

The most common are:

  • irritants inhaled into the lungs, such as: smoke, soot, toxic fumes, cigarette smoke; This type of acute lung injury, caused by compounds that irritate the lung tissue, is usually present heavy mileage;
  • ingestion or aspirated fluids - this leads to aspiration pneumonia; the intensity of symptoms depends on the amount of content that has entered the lungs, on its acidity, and on the natural ability to cleanse the bronchial tree;
  • drugs or preparations administered orally (e.g. liquid paraffin, contrast agents, etc.);
  • foreign bodies, ears of grain, grasses, small twigs;
  • pneumoallergens, the inhalation of which most often leads to the development of eosinophilic pneumonia;
  • invasion by Oslerus osleri or migrating ascaris larvae in young dogs;
  • toxins of external or internal origin.

Some authors report uremic interstitial pneumonia.

Non-bacterial neutrophilic pneumonia with (most likely) immune causes has also been observed.

Bacterial pneumonia in a dog very often it takes the form of bronchopneumonia, wherein said infection involves the respiratory tract, the interstitial tissue, and the alveoli.

Bacteria enter the lungs most often through the respiratory tract (aerogenic route) - this is when bronchial pneumonia develops, usually affecting the anterior and abdominal lobes.

If, on the other hand, the infection was hematogenic (i.e. through the blood), it is usually disseminated inflammation, which mainly affects the posterior lobes, a changes in the interstitial tissue of the lungs are advanced.

Predisposing factors for bacterial pneumonia in dogs

  • reduced rate of airway clearance of inhaled contaminants,
  • immunosuppression (caused by the administration of drugs, e.g. steroids or cytotoxic drugs),
  • malnutrition,
  • stress,
  • hormonal disorders,
  • other infections (e.g.canine distemper virus),
  • metabolic diseases (diabetes, uremia, acidosis),
  • choking (e.g. stomach contents or food during vomiting or in the presence of certain abnormalities, such as. cleft palate or other medical conditions, e.g. giant esophagus),
  • anatomical disorders (laryngeal paralysis, ciliary dyskinesia of the ciliary epithelium, tracheal collapse),
  • inhalation or aspiration of foreign bodies,
  • cancers,
  • surgical procedures (especially those performed on the chest),
  • fungal infections,
  • parasitic invasions.

Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia in dogs

Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia

Pneumonia in a dog is usually associated with respiratory symptoms.

Sometimes - if it is accompanied by another systemic disease - it can also manifest itself with specific symptoms.

Respiratory symptoms:

  • in most cases, the forehead of the respiratory symptoms is a cough which is described by the owner as quiet and moist; however, it is not uncommon for the cough to be tiring and unproductive,
  • bilateral discharge from the nose (it may start innocently, as serous, but it quickly turns into a purulent runny nose),
  • exercise intolerance; due to significant limitation of respiratory abilities, the organism becomes hypoxic very quickly; the animal gets tired very quickly, even with little effort, often accompanied by rapid breathing and cyanosis of the mucous membranes,
  • in advanced cases of bronchopneumonia, dyspnea, rapid and shallow breathing are observed.

Systemic symptoms:

  • apathy, weakness, reluctance to move, even lethargy as a result of hypoxia and ongoing infection,
  • lack of appetite,
  • fever (not found in all dogs with pneumonia; on average, it occurs in half of the cases),
  • weight loss,
  • dehydration.

Other conditions that can cause pneumonia:

  • swallowing disorders,
  • downpour,
  • vomiting,
  • respiratory syndrome of short-skulled dogs.

Diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia in dogs

Many dogs with bacterial pneumonia have previously experienced a respiratory problem or a spillage of food.

In a clinical trial conducted by a veterinarian, auscultatory changes over the lungs are the most common symptoms of symptoms, the most common of which are crackles or wheezing expirations, which are loudest above the anterior-ventral fields of the lungs.

Changes in the blood count may indicate bacterial pneumonia, but are not always typical.

Sometimes the morphology is normal or a stress leukogram is visible.

As a rule, however, we observe:

  • leukocytosis with neutrophilia and image shift to the left,
  • neutropenia with degenerative image shift to the left,
  • features of neutrophil toxicity.

One of the most important tests for diagnosing bacterial pneumonia is the chest X-ray. In the typical course of bacterial pneumonia, the veterinarian's attention may be focused on an alveolar image, sometimes with densities in the lobe of the lung.

It is often accompanied by an increased saturation of the bronchial shadow and interstitial tissue.

In the initial stage of the disease, only changes involving the interstitial lung tissue are possible.

Bacteriological examination and Pap smear material taken from the respiratory tract.

Pap smear and microbiological examination of the tracheal washes collected with tracheal aspiration or endotracheal lavage.

This type of examination confirms the diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia and allows the veterinarian to select an appropriate antibiotic.

Another way to obtain a sample is to collect a bronchoalveolar lavage during the test endoscopic examination.

Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL - bronchoalveolar lavage) is used to collect material for research from bronchi and alveoli.

After collecting the washings, they are subject to quantitative and qualitative assessment.

One technique that makes it possible to collect material for microbiological testing directly from the lungs is the technique fine needle biopsy.

Under aseptic conditions, the needle is inserted in the area of ​​the 8th intercostal space and the fluid is aspirated, which immediately after collection should be submitted by a veterinarian for bacteriological and cytological examination.

A Pap smear shows a large number of inflammatory cells, especially neutrophils.

Also present are:

  • macrophages,
  • plasmocytes,
  • epithelial cells.

In diagnostics, the root cause of pneumonia should always be established.

In the event of giant esophagus, features indicating its presence may already be visible on the checkup radiographs.

There are times when it is necessary to perform an examination bronchoscopic, to show changes in the respiratory tract or the presence of a foreign body.

Bronchoscopy (if there is a need for this test and the condition of the animal allows it) it also allows you to take samples for cytological and microbiological testing.

Sometimes serological tests determine whether there is a fungal infection.

On the other hand hormonal tests indicate whether or not the dog has Cushing's disease.

Treatment of bacterial pneumonia in dogs

Treatment of bacterial pneumonia

The treatment is multifaceted and includes:

  • antibiotic therapy,
  • supportive treatment,
  • monitoring the effects of treatment.

Antibiotic therapy

Antibiotic therapy is the mainstay of disease treatment and should be started as soon as possible.

The selection of an antibiotic by the veterinarian is based on the culture results.

However, because treatment should be started immediately, a broad-spectrum antibiotic that penetrates into the lung tissue is usually introduced by a veterinarian until the results are obtained.

Most cases of respiratory infections with Gram-negative bacteria or mixed infections occur.

Sometimes it can be difficult to predict the effectiveness of the antibiotic used.

Therefore, it is often necessary for a veterinarian to perform an antibiotic scan based on microbiological examination of material collected from the respiratory tract.

First-line antibiotics, used before obtaining the results of bacteriological tests, are:

  • amoxicillin with clavulanic acid (20-25 mg / kg m.c. every 8 hours),
  • cephalexin (20-40 mg / kg m.c. every 8 hours),
  • chloramphenicol (50 mg / kg m.c. every 8 hours),
  • tetracyclines (e.g. doxycycline 5-10 mg / kg m.c. every 12 hours)
  • potentiated sulfonamides.

Fluoroquinolones, e.g. Enrofloxacin, Marbofloxacin - their use is reserved for patients infected with resistant Gram-negative bacteria.

In serious conditions with advanced clinical symptoms, antibiotics should be initially administered intravenously and the patient should be hospitalized.

In life-threatening infections, the following are used:

  • imipenem (2-5 mg / kg m.c. every 6-8 hours),
  • ampicillin + sulbactam (50 mg / kg m.c. every 8 hours i.v.),
  • fluoroquinolone + aminoglycoside (e.g. amikacin 5-10 mg / kg m.c. every 8 hours.),
  • ampicillin with sulbactam + aminoglycoside.

Antibiotic therapy should be used for at least one week after clinical symptoms disappear.

Supportive treatment

Treatment outcomes largely depend on supportive care.

During treatment, it is recommended to limit movement as much as possible so that excessive exercise does not unnecessarily increase the need for oxygen.

The dog should be kept in a warm, quiet place.

Oxygen is given to patients with dyspnoea.

Fluids are administered intravenously as support.

Oxygen therapy

Oxygen is indicated in more severe cases of pneumonia.

Patients with dyspnoea, who have obvious respiratory problems, who are diagnosed with changes in blood gas analysis arterial blood requires hospitalization and oxygen administration with 24-hour monitoring.

Hydration of the respiratory tract

In dogs with pneumonia, a very important element of therapy is ensuring the proper hydration of the respiratory tract.

As the secretion of the respiratory system dries up, it becomes denser, which not only causes difficulties in cleaning the respiratory epithelium (by weakening the work of the ciliary epithelium), but also makes it difficult for the dog to actively expectorate the remaining secretions.

So if your pooch is dehydrated, your veterinarian will certainly recommend intravenous hydration.

Additional ways to moisturize the respiratory system are to increase air humidity or use nebulization.

Many owners use air humidifiers or simply place their pet in a steamy bathroom for a few minutes.

However, this method is only effective for moisturizing the upper respiratory tract (nasal cavity, proximal part of the trachea).

To moisturize the deeper sections, apply nebulization.

A sterile physiological saline solution is used as the nebulizer. Nebulization should be carried out 2-6 times a day for 10-30 minutes.

Immediately after nebulization, it is worth using physiotherapy to help evacuate secretions from the respiratory tract.


There is a thick, mucopurulent discharge in the bronchial tree, therefore it is very advisable to use methods that allow its evacuation.

Chest slapping is great for removing hydrated while nebulization secretions.

Immediately following nebulization, physiotherapy should be administered to increase cough and remove lung exudate.

If the patient is lying in one position for a long time, he should be moved from side to side at least every 2 hours.

Additionally, the chest is tapped by hitting the side of the chest with the folded hand against the chest wall, on both sides over the lung fields.

There should be an empty space between the palm of the hand and the chest wall, and the frequency of strokes and the force of patting are compared to those used for ovations ?

Such patting should last approx. 5-10 minutes 4-6 times a day (as long as the dog tolerates such procedures well).

If the dog is stable and willing to move, it should be gently provoked to be more active.

Exercise promotes deeper breathing, which in turn can make your coughing worse, which helps to remove excess mucus.

However, it should be remembered that the effort must be gentle and adapted to the current condition of the animal.


They are used in patients who show respiratory problems.

It happens that as a result of inflammation involving the lungs and bronchi, bronchospasm occurs and the patient may notice shortness of breath and wheezing while breathing, and the inhalation phase is clearly longer and louder.

In such cases, it is recommended to use beta-adrenergic drugs, such as salbutamol if clenbuterol.

However, in most cases of pneumonia, bronchial constriction does not occur and bronchial dilatation may impair mucus clearance from the airways.

Expectorant drugs

In the case of pneumonia in dogs, they are of little use as their administration does not bring much effect.

Patient monitoring

An extremely important element of the respiratory system therapy.

It is advisable to hospitalize dogs with pneumonia and observe them for resolution or worsening of symptoms.

Parameters such as:

  • breathing frequency,
  • the occurrence of respiratory effort,
  • the color of the mucous membranes,
  • temperature,
  • every 24-72 hours:
    • blood count,
    • chest X-ray.

If clinical signs and laboratory test results do not improve within 72 hours, Veterinarians usually make minor changes to treatment or take additional samples from the respiratory system for testing.

If over Three days the dog reacted to the introduced treatment and shows evident improvement, usually with the prescribed medications it is sent home, and the veterinarian's inspection is carried out after 1-2 weeks.

If all symptoms of pneumonia have resolved within this time and you are well, your veterinarian may continue treatment for about 7 days.


Bacterial pneumonia in dogs generally responds well to the treatment introduced.

If it is based on other primary diseases that predispose to recurrent pulmonary inflammation, prognosis is cautious.

The root cause of the respiratory system should always be eliminated.

There are also complications after pneumonia in dogs, such as. lung abscesses.

Sometimes they are cured with long-term antibiotic therapy, but sometimes it is necessary to surgically excise the lesions by a veterinarian.

Fungal pneumonia

Fungal pneumonia

Among fungal pneumonia, the following can be distinguished:

  • histoplasmosis (in cats),
  • blastomycosis (in dogs),
  • coccidioidomycosis,
  • aspergillosis.

Microorganisms most often penetrate the respiratory tract, but most often the body fights them with little or no clinical symptoms originating from the respiratory system.

It also happens that the infection is not controlled and a full-blown disease develops, which may affect the lungs themselves or spread to other organs and systems.

Dog fungal pneumonia symptoms

The clinical symptoms of fungal pneumonia are very similar to those of bacterial inflammation.

It can be stated:

  • lower respiratory symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, exercise intolerance,
  • general symptoms, e.g.:
    • weight loss,
    • lack of appetite,
    • high fever,
    • reluctance to move,
    • apathy, weakness,
    • enlargement of the lymph nodes,
    • inflammation of the choroid or retina,
  • other symptoms that may indicate multi-organ mycosis.

Diagnosis of fungal pneumonia in dogs

The diagnosis of fungal pneumonia is made on the basis of clinical symptoms, chest X-ray, microbiological and serological examination.

Chest X-rays generally reveal a diffuse, nodular interstitial lung image.

If such miliary lesions are found, which accompany clinical symptoms from the respiratory tract, the diagnosis should always include fungal pneumonia.

Other diseases where the lungs may appear like this include:

  • tumors,
  • parasitic invasions,
  • atypical pneumonia (e.g. mycobacteria)
  • lung eosinophilic disease.

It is not uncommon on X-rays to see an alveolar or broncho-interstitial image with lung densities.

Sometimes, calcification centers are also visible.

It happens that - especially in the course of histoplasmosis - there is an enlargement of the cavity lymph nodes.

Tracheal washings can be tested to demonstrate the presence of microorganisms, but may give false negative results.

The more sensitive examination is bronchoalveolar lavage of the lungs or lung aspiration biopsy.

The obtained material is subjected to cytological and / or mycological examination.

Treatment of fungal pneumonia in dogs

Treatment of the disease is based on the administration of antifungal drugs, of which it is often the drug of choice amphotericin B (0.1-1.0 mg / kg m.c. administered intravenously). NOTE: this drug has a strong nephrotoxic effect.

Another choice is ketoconazole (10 mg / kg m.c.) administered alone or in combination with amphotericin or itraconazole (5-10 mg / kg m.c. orally 2 times a day, administered for one month after clinical symptoms disappear).

Pneumonia caused by pulmonary parasites

Pneumonia in dogs caused by pulmonary parasites

Besides bacteria or fungi, internal parasites can also lead to the development of pneumonia in dogs.

There are several types of intestinal worms that can cause the disease.

  • Toxocara canis larvae, as they travel through the lungs, can cause temporary pneumonia in dogs (especially in puppies under a few months of age).
  • Dirofilaria immitis in turn causes more severe symptoms of canine pneumonia and thrombosis.
  • Capillaria aerophila - this nematode very rarely gives symptoms of pneumonia, and the invasion with this parasite is usually diagnosed accidentally - during a routine stool examination.

If there are clinical signs of pneumonia, the veterinarian conducts treatment with fenbendazole (25-50 mg / kg m.c. every 12 hours for 14 days) or levamisole (8 mg / kg m.c. for 10-20 days).

The prognosis is usually good.

Dog lung eosinophilic disease

Dog lung eosinophilic disease

Pulmonary eosinophilic disease (eosinophilic infiltrates in the lungs, eosinophilic granulomas of the lungs) is a very broad term, covering all inflammatory diseases of the lungs in the course of which eosinophils constitute the dominant group of cells in the inflammatory infiltration.

This type of inflammation can affect both the airways and the interstitial tissue.

Depending on the location and nature of the changes, the following can be distinguished:

  • Allergic bronchitis - the most common form of eosinophilic disease in cats with bronchial symptoms.
  • Eosinophilic infiltrates in the lungs (PIE - pulmonary infiltrates with eosinophils) - these are infiltrations in the interstitial tissue with (or without) bronchitis. Another name for this form of the disease is eosinophilic bronchopneumopathy. Regardless of the name, however, the essence of the disease is hypersensitivity reactions in the lungs.
  • Eosinophilic pulmonary granulomatosis - it is an advanced form of eosinophilic infiltrates in dogs, in the course of which nodules are formed in the interstitial tissue, as well as enlargement of the cavity lymph nodes. When such changes are found, the presence should always be ruled out cancer or fungal infection.

The causes of eosinophilic pneumonia

In the course of eosinophilic lung disease it occurs hypersensitivity reaction as a result of the action of allergens.

Since there can be many reasons for this, the root cause of eosinophilic inflammation should always be sought, because eliminating the cause essentially increases the chance of a complete cure.

Potential causes that could trigger hypersensitivity reactions include:

  • pulmonary parasites,
  • heartworm,
  • anxieties,
  • inhalation allergens,
  • bacteria,
  • mushrooms,
  • tumors.

Unfortunately, it is relatively rare to find the root cause of eosinophilic lung disease

Dog eosinophilic pneumonia symptoms

The disease affects young and old dogs.

Most animals go to a veterinarian for persistent respiratory symptoms, such as:

  • cough,
  • dyspnoea,
  • visible exertion while breathing,
  • getting tired quickly,
  • in eosinophilic pneumonia, symptoms may also affect the skin or the gastrointestinal tract.

The animal may have decreased appetite or lose weight, but these symptoms are poorly expressed.

Diagnosis of eosinophilic pneumonia

The disease is diagnosed on the basis of the presence in the material taken from the bronchi and / or alveoli of a significant number of eosinophils.

Auscultatory changes typical of pneumonia are often absent in auscultation of the chest, although they may sometimes be audible crackles and wheezing.

Eosinophilic disease may be associated with an increased number of peripheral blood eosinophils, but this is not a permanent feature.

In some dogs, however, the number of mast cells in the blood may increase.

The diagnosis of these types of cells in the blood is diagnostic.

Chest X-ray reveals the presence of a disseminated interstitial image, and with eosinophilic granulomatosis, nodules with poorly visible borders are visible.

It may be accompanied by enlargement of the hilum lymph nodes.

Sometimes an alveolar image of the lungs with compaction of the lobes is visible.

In order to confirm the disease, it is necessary to perform a cytological examination of the material collected from the respiratory tract.

Eosinophils predominate in the cytological examination, there are also:

  • neutrophils,
  • macrophages,
  • plasma cells,
  • epithelial.

You should also look for other, potential sources of allergens, infectious agents or neoplastic cells that can aid in the diagnosis and indicate the cause of diseases.

You should always do a test for heartworm disease and perform a parasitological examination of faeces for pulmonary parasites.

Treatment of eosinophilic pneumonia in dogs

The first priority is to identify and treat a possible primary cause of eosinophilic lung disease (e.g. parasites).

In most cases, the mere removal of the source of the allergens cures the patient.

As a rule, eosinophilic pneumonia in dogs is treated with anti-inflammatory and / or immunosuppressive drugs. Glucocorticosteroids should not be administered in the case of bacterial pneumonia, therefore, at the beginning, the infectious background of the disease should be ruled out.

Glucocorticoids: prednisone (at a dose of 1-2 mg / kg m.c. Every 12 hours).

While treatment is ongoing, the intensity of clinical symptoms and changes in the x-ray image of the lungs should be monitored.

When symptoms resolve, the doses of glucocorticosteroids are gradually reduced until the lowest effective dose is reached.

In a situation where the dog shows no clinical signs for at least 3 months, total drug withdrawal may be attempted.

If, on the other hand, after the administration of steroids, symptoms exacerbate, they should be discontinued and the diagnosis for infectious etiological factors should be resumed.

In dogs with severe lung lesions (e.g. in eosinophilic pulmonary granulomatosis), apart from glucocorticosteroids, cytostatic drugs should also be introduced:

prednisone (1 mg / kg m.c. every 12 hours) + cyclophosphamide (50 mg / m2 every 48 hours).

From the moment of withdrawal of clinical symptoms, the severity of clinical symptoms and changes in x-ray of the lungs (weekly) are assessed.

You should also what 1-2 weeks perform check-ups morphological study blood (to control the negative effects of the cytostatics).

If the dog shows no symptoms for at least several months, an attempt should be made to stop the medication.

Veterinarians strive to discontinue cyclophosphamide as soon as possible due to its adverse effects on the bladder.

Most dogs have a favorable prognosis, however in the presence of advanced eosinophilic pulmonary granulomatosis - cautious.

Aspiration pneumonia in a dog

Aspiration pneumonia

The disease is relatively rarely diagnosed in adult dogs without any other predisposing clinical conditions.

Under normal circumstances, it happens that small amounts of saliva or food content enter the respiratory tract from the mouth and throat, but properly functioning defense mechanisms efficiently clear the respiratory system and no infection develops.

Dog aspiration pneumonia is a situation where inflammation of the lungs develops as a result of large amounts of liquid or solid contents entering the lungs.

Most often it is ingestion or vomiting.

In healthy, conscious dogs, a properly functioning throat and larynx constitute a barrier that prevents foreign bodies from entering the trachea and further into the bronchi.

Therefore, aspiration pneumonia in dogs can occur:

  • In artificially fed puppies (e.g. bottle).
  • In older puppies, who may choke on a foreign body during exciting play.
  • As a complication of downpouring in dogs, e.g. in the course of such diseases as:
    • giant esophagus,
    • inflammation of the esophagus caused by reflux,
    • esophagitis,
    • obstruction of the esophagus,
    • local or generalized neuromuscular diseases that affect the dysfunction of the throat and larynx when swallowing.
  • In dogs with certain oropharyngeal anatomical abnormalities, e.g. by:
    • nodular changes,
    • respiratory syndrome of short-skulled dogs,
    • cleaves the palate.
  • In anesthetized or unconscious dogs that experience vomiting or pouring down.
  • In artificially fed dogs.
  • With incorrect placement of the gastric probe.

When food is aspirated to the lungs, their damage may result from:

  • Chemical action (gastric juice very quickly damages the epithelium of the respiratory tract).

As a result of the action of hydrochloric acid, tissue necrosis, edema and bronchospasm occur, which processes are intensified by acute inflammation.

In many cases, the process ends with the death of the animal due to severe hypoxia.

  • Airway obstruction.

The food content itself can mechanically obstruct the small bronchioles and cause severe shortness of breath.

It also happens that even a small amount of aspirated food will block one of the main bronchial trunks, leading to reflex bronchospasm and inflammation.

  • Infections that occur when contaminated food is inhaled.

However, this is rare as acidic food is usually sterile.

Nevertheless, secondary infections very often develop as a result of aspiration.

Regardless of the cause, however, a secondary inflammatory reaction is always triggered by the aspiration of foreign bodies.

Dog aspiration pneumonia symptoms

Dog aspiration pneumonia is most often manifested by a severe respiratory response.

Shortly after aspiration of the contents into the lungs, there is an increased cough, shortness of breath, and attempts to expectorate.

Many dog ​​handlers report that they noticed a rain or vomiting in their dog up to several hours earlier.

It also happens that the patient is in shock.

This is the first group of patients with aspiration pneumonia to develop symptoms rapidly.

Another group are patients with progressive weakness accompanied by a moderate cough, progressive respiratory effort, and apathy.

This condition persists for some time and the symptoms are chronic.

Many of them show symptoms of a general disease, such as:

  • fever,
  • lack of appetite,
  • weight loss.

Diagnostics of aspiration pneumonia

In the interview, the dog's guardian very often reports - apart from the characteristic symptoms of coughing and shortness of breath - also other disturbing symptoms, such as an episode of downpouring, vomiting, or about forcibly feeding the animal or administering medications.

While auscultating the chest, you can hear crackles and wheezes over the lung fields.

Chest radiographs show changes characteristic of aspiration pneumonia:

  • disseminated increase in interstitial tissue saturation,
  • the presence of fluid in the alveoli,
  • compaction of the pulmonary lobes.

The changes in the x-rays are usually visible only after the expiry of the time 12-24 hours from choking.

If the disease lasts longer, the most common is a nodular or interstitial lung image.

Complete blood count may show no changes, hence it is non-specific, but often shows severe inflammation.

It is recommended to collect tracheal washes for bacteriological examination and obtaining antibiotic scan.

Bronchoscopic examination is recommended when there is a risk of foreign bodies and / or airway obstruction.

Gasometric test blood is an important diagnostic element that facilitates the proper management of patients and allows the control of treatment by a veterinarian.

A veterinarian should always carry out a thorough diagnosis aimed at determining the cause of aspiration.

Thorough examination of the mouth and throat, contrast X-ray examination of the esophagus, and neuromuscular function tests should be performed.

Treatment of aspiration pneumonia in dogs

Management of aspiration pneumonia depends on the severity and type of clinical symptoms.

In the case of significant respiratory disorders, the patient is given:

  • oxygen,
  • intravenous fluids,
  • bronchodilators,
  • glucocorticosteroids.

In case of shock, the following are given:

  • fast-acting glucocorticoids,
  • intravenous fluids by rapid infusion,
  • oxygen.

If there is airway obstruction, bronchoscopy is performed and foreign bodies are removed.

Always serves antibiotics - initially those with a broad spectrum of activity.

If necessary, they are changed based on the indications of the antibiotic profile.

The patient should be constantly monitored by frequent clinical examinations, x-rays of the lungs and complete blood counts to detect any potential complications related to secondary bacterial respiratory infections.

In order to prevent choking again, therapy is also established for identified primary diseases that are the cause of choking.

Prognosis of aspiration pneumonia

Patients who show mild symptoms of aspiration pneumonia and those who have managed to eliminate the root cause have a good prognosis.

Dogs with more severe respiratory symptoms and dogs that cannot diagnose and / or cure their underlying disease have a worse prognosis.

Chronic Fibrosing Pneumonia West Highland White Terriers

Chronic Fibrosing Pneumonia West Highland White Terriers

This type of lung pathology is most commonly found in older dogs.

In the course of chronic inflammation of the alveoli and bronchioles, excessive proliferation occurs fibroblasts and the production of collagen (i.e. simply fibrosis) in the intravesical space, resulting in irreversible damage to lung tissue.

Unfortunately, this process leads to the death of the animal.

Fibrotic lung diseases are called idiopathic because in most cases it is very difficult to identify a specific trigger for the disease in a dog.

The following are the causes of pulmonary fibrosis:

  • environmental factors:
    • air pollution, dust, fumes;
  • iatrogenic factors:
    • use of bleomecin,
    • amiodarone (an anti-arrhythmic drug).

It is known that the West Highland White Terriers are the breed of dogs most predisposed to fibrosing pneumonia.

Chronic alveolitis develops for a long time.

Gradually, the changes occurring within the lung tissue become irreversible and the process of alveolar fibrosis begins.

Chronic fibrosing pneumonia symptoms

It is most often observed in dogs cough and progressive dyspnoea.

Symptoms of respiratory failure are chronic, sometimes it is difficult to determine the onset of respiratory problems.

Dogs avoid traffic, they get tired faster and faster.

Dog handlers notice rapid breathing, breathing through an open mouth, sometimes bruising of the mucous membranes.

This condition can last for months, becoming increasingly severe over time.

Chronic fibrosing pneumonia diagnosis

During auscultation of the chest, changes characteristic of pneumonia can be found.

The X-ray image shows changes typical of interstitial lung diseases.

It is recommended to perform a bronchoscopic examination in order to exclude other inflammations, as well as anatomical abnormalities or foreign bodies.

During this examination, samples are also taken from the respiratory system for microbiological and cytological analysis.

However, the most precise diagnostic method in diagnosing fibrosing pneumonia is biopsy spit.

The histopathological examination shows then fibrosis and mineralization alveoli.

The following disease entities are included in the differential diagnosis:

  • chronic bronchitis,
  • pulmonary oedema,
  • lung bacterial infections,
  • fungal infections of the lungs,
  • parasite invasions,
  • tumors.

Chronic fibrosing pneumonia treatment

Treatment of fibrosing pneumonia is based on the administration of glucocorticosteroids and / or other immunosuppressive drugs (e.g. azathioprine).

At the same time, supportive therapy is carried out involving the administration of oxygen and bronchodilators.

Chronic fibrosing pneumonia prognosis

West Highland White Terriers' Chronic Fibrosing Lung Disease is a progressive and incurable disease. The need for lifelong treatment without a guarantee of clinical improvement and with the accompanying side effects makes many owners decide to withdraw from persistent therapy and euthanize the dog during it.


Don't underestimate the symptoms of pneumonia in your dog!

There is a wide range of health conditions with symptoms of breathlessness, lethargy and weight loss.

Most of them concern the respiratory or circulatory systems, but there are also others that are equally important.

So if you see that your pet shows any disturbing behavior, take him to the vet.

It is extremely important in the case of pneumonia quick treatment, which, in addition to the usual causal therapy, should also include supportive care.

Remember that sometimes the course of pneumonia may not be obvious, the dog just goes out. This is a very disturbing symptom, evidence of severe hypoxia, and hence only a step away from the tragedy.

Therefore, do not underestimate the cough, apathy or decline in your form. These may be the first and the last symptoms your dog shows you that, if ignored, could deprive you of any chance to correct the mistake. As soon as you notice them, contact your veterinarian.

Which bacteria cause pneumonia in dogs?

The most commonly isolated bacteria with lung tissue infections are Pasteurella, Klebsiella, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas, Streptococcus, Bordetella bronchiseptica.

How to recognize eosinophilic pneumonia in a dog?

The most common symptoms of the disease are coughing, shortness of breath, visible straining to breathe, fatigue, skin or gastrointestinal symptoms.

Can parasites cause pneumonia?

Yes, pneumonia in dogs can be caused by Toxocara canis, Dirofilaria immitis, Capillaria aerophila.

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