Infection of the lungs
Pneumonia, infection of the lungs, can cause a variety of symptoms in pets. Signs may include:
- Persistent cough that may be accompanied by phlegm
- Difficulty breathing, such as rapid, shallow, or labored breathing
- Wheezing or crackling sounds during breathing
- Lethargy or weakness
- Loss of appetite or decreased food intake
- Fever or elevated body temperature
- Nasal discharge that may be clear, colored, or thick
- Frequent sneezing
- Blue-tinged gums or tongue (indicating poor oxygenation in severe cases)
Other health conditions may share similar symptoms with pneumonia, including kennel cough, Valvular Heart Disease, or Bronchitis.
If you notice any of these signs or have concerns about your pet's health, consult with your veterinarian. Seek immediate veterinary attention if you suspect your pet is having trouble breathing or has blue gums/tongue as pets with pneumonia can progress very quickly. Early detection and intervention can improve the chances of successful management.
When you visit your veterinarian for concerns related to pneumonia, the following may occur:
- Physical examination: The veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination of your pet, checking for any abnormalities in their breathing, lung sounds, and overall health.
- Diagnostic testing: Diagnostic testing such as a chest X-ray or blood tests may be recommended to evaluate the presence and severity of pneumonia and determine the underlying cause.
- Treatment options: Treatment options for pneumonia can vary depending on the severity and underlying cause. It may involve antibiotics, supportive care to alleviate symptoms, or hospitalization with oxygen therapy and intravenous medications in severe cases.
- Advanced diagnostic or treatment options: In severe cases, referral to a 24-hour facility with ICU care may be advised for more treatment and continual care.
- Follow-up care: Your veterinarian will discuss a follow-up plan, which may involve additional tests, or adjustments to the treatment regimen. Maintain open communication with your veterinary care team throughout the process.
Your veterinary healthcare team will partner with you to decide which treatment option is best for your pet's and your family’s specific condition and situation.
Two of the most common causes of pneumonia are infectious diseases and aspiration of stomach contents after vomiting or anesthesia. Here are some things you can do at home to help prevent pneumonia:
- Vaccinations: Ensure your pet is up to date on their vaccinations, especially before boarding or taking them to the dog park, as some vaccines can help protect against respiratory infections that can lead to pneumonia.
- Limit exposure to infected animals: Minimize contact with animals showing signs of respiratory illness, especially in crowded or high-risk environments such as kennels or shelters.
- Early detection: Note fast breathing rate or difficulty breathing within a few days after your pet vomits or wakes up from anesthesia.
Consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice and guidance on preventing pneumonia in your pet. They can provide tailored recommendations based on your pet's specific needs and medical history.
Please note that the information provided here is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If you suspect your pet has pneumonia or any other health concerns, consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.