Wednesday, March 22, 2023

How To Get Rid Of Pneumonia In Dogs

How Veterinarians Diagnose Dog Pneumonia

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Veterinarians use many diagnostics tests to diagnose pneumonia. Typically, they will start with listening to the lungs with a stethoscope. Fluid in the chest may sound like crackles, wheezes and pops. Occasionally, the lungs are only quieter than normal. This symptom, combined with coughing or difficulty breathing, may lead a veterinarian to recommend additional diagnostic tests.


Veterinarians use radiographs, or X-rays of the chest to diagnose pneumonia, and a specialized 3-view X-ray to help determine its severity. Fluid and inflammation look much different from air on X-rays, with gray, patchy or a hazy pattern. Pneumonia can affect one lung lobe or multiple lobes. Lungs can even collapse as fluid replaces the entirety of the air sacs.

Blood Chemistry and Complete Blood Count

The complete blood count, or CBC, may show signs of inflammation and infection. The blood chemistry may show signs of sepsis in severe cases, as well as predisposing factors or reasons for vomiting.

Pulse Oximetry and Blood-Gas Analysis

Culture and Cytology

Other Tests

Veterinarians can use advanced imaging, such as MRI or CT to fully assess the extent of pneumonia and other risk factors. They may use other tests for infectious agents and parasites, including PCR, serology, etc. Blood cultures are rarely used, as a local culture typically yields good results.

Treatment For The Flu

If your dog is diagnosed with the flu, treatment will focus on alleviating the symptoms. For instance, your veterinarian may prescribe NSAIDs to reduce fever and cough suppressants to help break up mucus secretions. They may also recommend an antibiotic if your dog has a secondary bacterial infection. In rare cases, your dog might require hospitalization and supportive care.

How Is Bacterial Pneumonia Diagnosed

Your veterinarian may suspect bacterial pneumonia based on the presence of the signs listed above, combined with the results of a physical examination, especially if abnormal lung sounds are heard when listening to your dogs chest with a stethoscope.

A series of tests may be required to confirm the diagnosis and to exclude other diseases that could be causing the symptoms, including:

  • CBC and biochemistry profile. These blood tests will assess the general health of your dog, and specific blood or fecal tests may be recommended to rule out parasitic diseases such as heartworm or lungworm. Specific blood tests to rule out serious metabolic diseases may be necessary.
  • Thoracic radiography . Radiographs often show characteristic changes in the lungs, and may be helpful to eliminate other types of heart or lung disease.
  • Cytology using bronchoscopy. A small fiber optic camera called a bronchoscope is used to directly examine the inner surfaces of the airways in an anesthetized dog. After completing the visual examination, cytology samples can be collected for microscopic examination and for bacterial culture and sensitivity testing.

Also Check: Viral Pneumonia Signs And Symptoms

Drink Hot Peppermint Tea

Peppermint can also helpalleviate irritation and expel mucus. Research suggests that it can be an effective decongestant, anti-inflammatory, and painkiller.

If you dont already have peppermint tea, you can pick up loose or bagged teas at your local grocery or online. And if you have fresh peppermint, you can easily make your own tea.

You may wish to deeply inhale the aroma of the peppermint tea while the tea is steeping. This might help clear your nasal pathways.

Treatment For Pneumonia In Dogs

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Common medications prescribed by vets for the treatment of infectious bacterial or aspiration pneumonia in dogs include, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for fever and pain, and bronchodilators and expectorants for coughing and breathing problems. Dogs suffering from a severe case of pneumonia may need to be hospitalized and provided with supplemental oxygen, intravenous antibiotics, or fluid therapy.

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Signs & Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Dogs

Dogs with pneumonia typically have what we call respiratory signs.

However, you may also see your dog have symptoms that are not restricted to the respiratory tract.

Here are some signs you may notice:

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing or breathing faster than normal at rest
  • Extending neck out to breathe with mouth open
  • Weight loss
  • Blueish hue to gum color

It is normal and quite common to see if a cough goes away on its own within 2-3 days.

However, if your dog is coughing for more than 3 days or they are showing any of the other symptoms mentioned above, you need to take your dog to the vet.

Pneumonia In Dogs Home Treatment

When returning home, your vet will provide you with specific instructions on caring for your dog during their recovery. Typical pneumonia in dogs treatment includes:

  • Restricting your dog’s activities while they recover.
  • Keeping other pets and small children away from your dog in order in order to allow them to get plenty of rest.
  • A consistent supply of fresh water to help keep them hydrated.
  • Making sure they eat, even if they are not enthusiastic to accept food. Pneumonia often makes dogs food averse but it is important to make sure they get the nutrients they need.
  • Treating your dog with a steam treatment by running a hot shower while you sit with your dog in the bathroom or shower room.

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Diagnosing Pneumonia In Dogs

A veterinarian will perform a full physical examination on a dog after an owner notes symptoms that are characteristic of pneumonia. The vet will look for nasal discharge, coughing, take the temperature of the dog, and listen to the lungs using a stethoscope. If pneumonia is suspected, X-rays of the lungs will need to be taken to look for fluid and inflammation. Sometimes a bronchial lavage is also performed in order to check if bacteria is present in the lungs. A sample of the nasal discharge or lung fluid from the lavage may be sent out for a microbial culture or cytology to see what type of bacteria is causing the pneumonia. Finally, bloodwork is often checked to see if an infection is systemic by looking for an elevation in the white blood cell count.

Recovery And Management Of Dog Pneumonia


X-rays are typically taken every two to five days during the acute phase, and then every one to two weeks until complete resolution. X-rays should be monitored for recurrence every few months after full resolution. A veterinarian will want to recheck an exam as well as bloodwork within the first two weeks after an episode of pneumonia.

Most veterinarians recommend the continuation of treatment for at least a week after resolution of clinical signs both patient symptoms and X-ray evidence.

Veterinarians do not typically recommend cough suppressants for dogs recovering from pneumonia. Coughing is the bodys natural way to remove the infection and fluid within the airways.

Recommended Reading: Fluid In Lungs Pneumonia Symptoms

How To Prevent Pneumonia In Dogs

While there is no sure-fire way to make sure your dog doesn’t get pneumonia, it helps to keep them in top shape. For instance, take them to the veterinarian for regular check-ups, feed them a nutritious diet, and make sure they get plenty of exercise.

If your dog does get sick with pneumonia, the flu, or any other illness, pet insurance can help you manage the veterinary bills. With pet insurance, you can get help focusing on providing the best care possible for your dog with less worry about how much it will cost. Get started with a personalized quote now.

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.


*Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Waiting periods, annual deductible, co-insurance, benefit limits and exclusions may apply. For all terms and conditions visit Preventive and Wellness Care reimbursements are based on a schedule. Complete Coverage reimbursements are based on the invoice. Levels 1-4 reimbursements are based on usual and customary eligible costs. Products, schedules, and rates may vary and are subject to change. Discounts may vary and are subject to change. More information available at checkout.

Drink A Cup Of Ginger Tea

Ginger has also demonstrated anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties in recent research . As with turmeric, current research on ginger hasnt looked at whether it helps specifically with chest pain, but its a harmless, hydrating way to try and soothe the uncomfortable effects of pneumonia.

You can find loose or bagged ginger teas at your local grocery or online. Or, you can use raw ginger to make your own ginger tea.

Your fever may develop suddenly or over the course of a few days. With treatment, it should subside within the week.

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Shop Online To Save Money On Preventative Meds & More

Speak to your vet to get advice on the best over-the-counter preventative medications. Most vets will offer medicine for you to take home, but you can also save a lot of money by purchasing preventative parasite medicine online. You can also protect your family from backyard parasites by getting the best pooper scooper and poop bags.

How Dogs Get Roundworms

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  • From their mother. Its very common for puppies to be born with roundworms, as the larvae are often transmitted from the mother just before birth or through nursing.

Heres how this happens: The canine roundworm has unfortunately evolved a very efficient way to propagate itself. If a dog has ever had roundworms, a number of dormant larvae can remain in body tissues, even if the dog was treated and the adult worms eradicated. These encysted roundworm larvae can remain dormant for the rest of the dogs lifeunless the dog is a female and becomes pregnant, at which time the larvae reactivate and are then passed to her puppies. The puppies can be infected either while still in the mothers body or after they are born, through her milk. So even with a very healthy, well-cared-for mother dog and puppies, the puppies should routinely be treated for roundworms , starting at a very young age. Owners of pregnant dogs should ask their vet about safe deworming treatment of the dam during pregnancy that could reduce transmission to the puppies.

Larvae that have been reactivated during the females pregnancy can also remain in her body and make her sick.

Encysted roundworms can also progress to the adult form and cause sickness in male and female adult dogs who have certain underlying health conditions.

While playing outdoors, puppies and dogs can pick up roundworm eggs that got into the soil from the stools of infected dogs.

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Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Dogs

The signs of pneumonia in dogs include:

  • Deep cough
  • Appetite and weight loss
  • Lethargy

Dogs with pneumonia may also show intolerance to exercise. For instance, they may not have any interest in activities they usually love, like going for a walk or playing fetch, and they may tire out more quickly than usual.

What Is The Treatment For Bacterial Pneumonia

The appropriate antibiotic treatment is determined by the results of the culture and sensitivity tests. These tests identify the specific bacterial species causing the infection and which type of antibiotics will combat this infection. Since the results of culture and sensitivity testing will not be available immediately, your veterinarian may begin treatment with a broad-spectrum antibiotic, such as doxycycline or amoxicillin, while awaiting the test results. It may be necessary to change the medication once the results are available. Your veterinarian will choose the appropriate antibiotics for your dog’s particular situation.

“Medications may be required for a prolonged period of time, depending on the specific type of infection and the seriousness of the condition.”

If your dog has respiratory distress or is dehydrated or anorexic , hospitalization for oxygen therapy and/or intravenous fluids and medications may be necessary.

If your dog is stable enough to be treated as an outpatient, your veterinarian may also prescribe bronchodilators, expectorants, or other medications to control specific symptoms. Medications may be required for a prolonged period of time, depending on the specific type of infection and the seriousness of the condition.

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Coupage Or Chest Percussion Helps Expell Pulmonary And Bronchial Secretions By Stimulating The Cough Reflex

May 13, 2019

With a 25 percent death rate, aspiration pneumonia should be taken seriously. Treatment traditionally includes hospitalization, IV fluids and antibiotics , oxygen therapy, nebulization, and coupage.

Coupage, or chest percussion, helps expell pulmonary and bronchial secretions by stimulating the cough reflex.

Could These Signs Be Caused By Something Else

Puppy. Milk aspiration & pneumonia

Some of these signs are common and are not specific to any one disease. Non-infectious respiratory disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , heart disease causing pulmonary edema, and lung cancer can also cause some of these symptoms. Before reaching a diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia, your veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical examination and recommend a series of diagnostic tests.

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Aspiration Pneumonia What Causes It

Through a tremendous amount of scientific study, several factors have been identified that increase the risk of aspiration pneumonia:

  • Disease of the esophagus , including megaesophagus
  • Gastrointestinal disease, including inflammatory bowel disease
  • Diseases of the larynx , including laryngeal paralysis
  • Forced feeding
  • Forced administration of liquid medications
  • Altered level of consciousness due to neurologic disease
  • Sedation/anesthesia

Causes Of Pneumonia In Dogs

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs caused by bacteria. The bacteria may enter the body via the ventilation system or through direct contact with other bodily tissues. According to the Mar Vista Animal Medical Center website, No matter what started the pneumonia, bacteria have joined in adding their own special pus, fever, and potential for disaster in most cases, management of the bacteria is vital.

The bacteria cause inflammation of the lungs and bronchi, according to These are the tubes that carry air into the lungs. WebMD reports that other causes of pneumonia can be viruses, fungi or parasites. Inhalation or aspiration pneumonia occurs with megaesophagus, gastroesophageal reflux, paralysis of the swallowing mechanism, and reflux of gastric contents into the lungs during general anesthesia or vomiting, according to the website. Chemical pneumonia is caused by inhaling smoke or ingesting hydrocarbons such as gasoline or kerosene.

Dogs with acid reflux are at an increased risk for developing pneumonia because stomach acid can travel up the esophagus and damage the lungs.

Pneumonia in dogs is often a secondary disease, meaning it results from some other problem, such as a kennel cough virus. It is most common in dogs less than a year old and senior dogs, or adult dogs with weakened immune systems due to chemotherapy, chronic illness or other reasons.

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What Is Pneumonia In Dogs

Just like us, our dogs can develop pneumonia that impacts the respiratory system, interfering with your poochs ability to breathe regularly. While some forms of pneumonia take more time to clear up than others, most dogs recover well with treatment.

That said, the condition can lead to serious issues if left untreated.

Average Recovery Time For A Dog With Pneumonia

Why Is My Dog Coughing Blood?

It usually takes a dog at least 3-5 weeks to recover from pneumonia.

Your dog will likely need to be on antibiotics for at least 4 weeks.

The standard is to continue antibiotics for one week past evidence that the pneumonia has cleared up on x-rays.

Your vet may want to recheck a chest x-ray after your dog has been on antibiotics for 2 weeks, which can help gauge how much longer they will need to be rested and on medications.

Recovering from pneumonia takes a long time, but many dogs do heal and are able to get back to their normal activity level.

One thing to keep in mind if your dog was a very active hunting or agility dog, they may have some scarring in their lungs and will not be able to be completely as active as they used to be.

Be easy on them going forward and you may have to adjust their lifestyle.

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Signs Of Pneumonia In Dogs

Included below is a varied, but not exhaustive, list of symptoms to look out for when determining if there is cause for concern your dog has pneumonia. Your dog may require treatment if they are experiencing any of these symptoms, and you should contact your vet for guidance if you are concerned.

  • Fever
  • bloody mucus from nose or mouth
  • blue, grey, or purple mucus membranes
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of Apetite

At Home Treatments For Pneumonia In Dogs

Once released from the hospital, at home care of your dogs pneumonia may begin. At home pneumonia care goes beyond giving your dog medications, allowing for lots of rest, and proper nourishment. Pneumonia can lead to a buildup of mucus in the lungs that needs to come out. 15-minute steam session in a closed bathroom with hot water running throughout the day can promote and encourage clearing out your dogs lungs. An increase in humidity thins out mucus in the airways allowing your dog to easily cough it out. Additionally, exercise may be recommended throughout the day to help strengthen the lungs and rebuild the dogs stamina as they heal. Work with your veterinarian to determine what type of exercise or therapeutic sessions can help your dog recover from pneumonia.

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Drink A Cup Of Coffee

Drinking a cup of coffee may also help relieve shortness of breath. Caffeine may help widen the airways, and a 2021 review even suggested that consuming it could help soothe some COVID-19 symptoms and work against SARS-CoV-2.

Caffeines half-life is 3-5 hours, meaning that your body gets rid of half the caffeine content in this time. If caffeine helps to widen your airways, this is the amount of time its likely to have its most noticeable effects.

Chest pain may come on suddenly or over the course of several days. You should expect some chest pain or ache if you get pneumonia. With treatment, any chest pain typically subsides within 4 weeks.

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