A closer look: Bacterial Pneumonia in Dogs
The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia typically develop rapidly, and are often severe regardless of the underlying cause of the pneumonia.
Coughing dogs benefit from prompt veterinary attention.If coughing is accompanied by other symptoms such as severe lethargy, difficulty breathing, collapse, reduced appetite, or vomiting, then emergency intervention is required.
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Bacterial pneumonia can develop due to vomiting episodes, resulting in vomit material entering the airways. Some dogs with bacterial pneumonia may have a recent history of vomiting.
Bacterial pneumonia is uncommon in dogs.
Pre-existing conditions associated with the respiratory tract and immune system deficiency are predisposing to pneumonia.
Although bacterial pneumonia usually responds well to treatment, any lung infection is potentially life threatening. Prompt veterinary attention is required for any dog with persistent coughing.
The cause of bacterial pneumonia is infection of the lungs. The underlying cause of infection is not always obvious. Dogs with pre-existing lung conditions and immunocompromised individuals are more predisposed to infection and lung disease.
Testing and diagnosis
Diagnostics for confirming bacterial pneumonia include:
- Physical examination
- Diagnostic imaging, including X-rays and ultrasound
- Blood oxygen measurement
- Tracheal lavage
- Specific testing for infectious diseases
Steps to Recovery
Treatment initially focuses on ensuring adequate oxygen delivery. Supportive care may include:
- Supplemental oxygen
- IV fluids
- Drainage of the chest, if fluid has accumulated
Once stabilized, treatments may include:
- Medications to dilate the airways
Most cases require hospitalization for the duration of treatment.
Prognosis varies depending on severity, response to treatment, and any concurrent medical disorders.
With aggressive and timely intervention, the prognosis is generally good. Young animals or animals with weakened immune systems have a poorer prognosis. Some animals may develop a chronic, long-lasting infection despite treatment efforts.
Bacterial pneumonia cannot be reliably prevented, although factors which reduce susceptibility include:
- Remaining up-to-date on vaccines
- Keeping immunocompromised animals away from unvaccinated animals
Is Bacterial Pneumonia in Dogs common?
Bacterial pneumonia is uncommon in dogs. Young dogs, dogs with immunosuppression, or dogs housed in densely packed environments, such as dog kennels, may have a higher risk.
- Oxygen Support
- Fluid Support