Aspiration pneumonia in dogs is a condition in which a dog’s lungs become inflamed as a result of foreign matter, from the regurgitation of gastric acid contents or vomiting.
Dog pneumonia can also result from a neuromuscular disorder, which would cause difficulty with swallowing and issues related to the oesophagus, with possible paralysis of the oesophagus.
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Other causes for a dysfunction of the lungs may be inhalation of gastric acids or obstructed airway, which can cause extensive damage to the internal tissues of the lungs.
Bacteria present in the inhaled foreign matter may also bring about infection.
Aspiration pneumonia in dogs is more prevalent than in cats.
Aspiration Pneumonia is Dogs
In this section, we’d be discussing the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and some natural ways to help a dog with pneumonia.
Symptoms and Types
Symptoms of aspiration pneumonia include breathing difficulties, coughing, swallowing difficulties, rapid breathing, discharge from the nasal passages, increased heart rate, a possible intolerance to exercise due to weakness, and a bluish tinge on the skin (cyanosis).
Other signs of aspiration pneumonia in dogs (depending on the reasons for this condition) may include loss of appetite, mood swings, vomiting, and regurgitation.
Causes of AP in Dogs
The culprit of aspiration pneumonia include abnormalities associated with neuromuscular and pharynx disorders, which affect both the muscles and nerves.
An enlargement of the lower aspect of the dog’s oesophagus (due to regurgitation of gastric acid) or an incorrectly placed feeding tube can also lead to aspiration pneumonia.
Your vet will carry out a thorough physical examination using audio and visual diagnostic tools to gain a complete overview of the condition of the dog’s lungs.
Further testing, such as abdominal palpation, chest X-rays, a complete blood profile, including a chemical blood profile, and a complete blood count, may also be called for.
Blood tests will reveal any presence of infection, and chest X-rays will show if aspiration pneumonia is p-present in your pup.
Fluid may be taken from the lungs to define whether there are bacteria present. If so, it will help determine which dog pneumonia antibiotics will best serve in healing your companion.
Suppose your pet is suffering from respiratory distress. In that case, your veterinarian may suggest a blood gas analysis, which is a test that measures the levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen concentrations in the blood.
Your veterinarian may also order a swallowing study to conclude whether or not there is a dysfunction of the oesophagus. An internal fluorescent video X-ray, called a fluoroscopy, may be considered well to assess further the oesophagus muscles and their ability to move food down to the stomach.
One way to help a dog with pneumonia is via the suction of the airways. This can be done immediately after inhalation of foreign matter.
If your dog is exhibiting signs of respiratory distress, oxygen will be required as part of a stabilizing treatment.
If signs of shock or dehydration persist or oral fluids have been prohibited, an intravenous drip may be inserted.
Until the major problem has been dealt with, oral intake should be withheld, especially in acute cases of aspiration pneumonia.
Your dog should be offered a quiet place to rest, preferably a cage, away from active children or other animals. But, supervision is still necessary. Until the main problem has been diagnosed, oral intake should be withheld, especially in acute cases of aspiration pneumonia.
An animal with this condition should not be left lying on its side in an inactive state for more than two hours.
As soon as your dog begins to show signs of stability, a mild form of gentle exercise could be beneficial in stimulating a cough, which will, in turn, help to clear the airways. If recovery is progressing slowly, a saline drip is recommended.
Living and Management
Aspiration pneumonia is a life-threatening condition that may demand keeping your pet in intensive care for several days before it is fully stabilized.
In some cases, if the condition is related to complications with paralysis of the oesophagus, a dog will experience great difficulty gaining full recovery.
Once your dog’s condition has stabilized, you will need to continue the complete course of medication, as well as any follow-up procedures your veterinarian deems necessary.
Cost of Aspiration Pneumonia in Dogs
Each case of aspiration pneumonia is different as each can have a different cause. If there are any underlying causes of the vomiting (i.e. tumor, cleft palate, etc.), the cause would be treated.
The veterinarian may recommend antibiotics to treat aspiration pneumonia if the infection presents itself.
Antibiotics can cost anywhere between $10 and $40. Fluid therapy may be administered if your dog is severely dehydrated from the vomiting.
As earlier mentioned, Fluid therapy often costs between $40 and $72 per treatment. Your dog may also need oxygen support which can cost $120 to $140.
The veterinarian will need to hospitalize your dog for proper observation and to ensure your dog is progressing. If your dog is only hospitalized for the day, it may only cost $40-$55.
But. It can cost between $67 and $75 for additional days. The total cost of the above treatment options can run between $210 and $395. However, without knowing the cause, it isn’t easy to know the complete total cost.
If you need cheaper and alternative natural ways to help a dog with pneumonia, check our posts below.
Dog Pneumonia Home Treatment
Performing dog pneumonia home treatment is possible, but its important to first seek veterinary care for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Dogs with pneumonia need to be on antibiotics and it generally may take up to 3 days for owners to see signs of improvement.
Common antibiotics prescribed include Baytril and Clavamox which may cover a wide range of bacterial pneumonia organisms. Before being sent home, many dogs are hospitalized and given antibiotics intravenously.
Pneumonia in dogs is a serious health issue, but dogs equipped with a strong immune system and provided with antibiotics and supportive care by caring owners trying natural ways for treating dog pneumonia at home, have a good chance of coming through it.
The most vulnerable dogs are very young/newborn pups and senior dogs would may have a harder time due to more vulnerable immune systems.
This guide not only focuses on adult dogs but newborn puppy pneumonia home treatment too.
Did you know? A study found that long-term treatment with H2 blockers (Pepcid) or proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec) can trigger a predisposition to pneumonia due to colonization with enteric bacteria considering that such drugs increase gastric pH.
When a dog suffers from pneumonia, there is inflammation and therefore increased secretions which may often be extremely disastrous and difficult to cough up.
Productive coughing is important and therefpre, it’s vital that the secretions are as liquid as possible. Since more than 90% of the mucus in a dog’s respiratory tract is water, it’s important to keep the dog as hydrated as possible.
Fluid therapy by the vet is idea, but at home, dog owners will need to find ways to encourage drinking.
An excellent method to hydrate and encourage drinking is to give some plain, low-sodium broth (with no onion or garlic) to a dog’s food. Adding some chicken broth to a dog’s food is an idea, suggests veterinarian Dr. Karen.
Steam From the Shower
People are often instructed to use nebulizers and inhale the steam, but how can one get a dog to be so collaborative to allow us to funnel the steam to his snout for so long? Not all dogs will do that, but for those who tolerate it, a nebulizer can turn helpful.
For dogs who do not collaborate, there is a simple solution. If your dog has pneumonia, it may be beneficial to simply run the hot water in a closed bathroom until there’s a lot of steam. Then, the dog can be placed in the bathroom with the shower running for a few minutes.
The steam will enter the lungs and help soften up material so that it can be easier to bring up. Since, resolution of pneumonia for a great extent relies on clearance of secretions from the airway by coughing (avoid cough supressants!), it’s important that the secretions remain liquid and easy to bring up.
Pros of Coupage
Some coupage , which involves lightly pounding the sides of a dog’s chest just behind the point of the elbows with cupped hands, following a shower, may help break up some material.
Have your vet show you how you can do it right. Coupage helps stimulate the cough reflex and helps break up secretions.
Best to do it after exposing the dog to a neublizer or hot steam. Perform coupage several times a day, especially if your dog doesn’t move around much. Below is a video on how to do coupage on a dog.
You should coupage for 5-10 seconds then take breaks to let her cough up any debris. Do this for 5-10 minutes and do it every 6-8 hours for 5-7 days.
Encourage Mild Exercise
Exercise can stir up coughing and therefore eliminating secretions. Some short walks combined with frequent turning of dogs who are lying down can help encourage clearance of sputum, further explains veterinarian Dr. Cohn. Puppies and dogs with pneumonia should not lie down in one place for extended periods of time.
Observe the Respiratory Rate
20 to 30 breaths a minutes is considered a normal respiratory rate in dogs. If your dog has pneumonia, it’s a good idea keeping an eye on your dog’s respiratory rate as those numbers may double.
Here’s an easy way to count your dog’s breathe per minute. Just count the number of times your dog’s flanks (the area in front of your dog’s back legs, on the side of her belly) move in a minute. If that seems too long, you can take a shortcut and count how many times your dog’ s flanks move for 15 seconds and then multiply that number by 4.
If your dog’s breathing seems to be getting more labored, you notice increased coughing and blood or green tinged discharge from the nose and your dog has blue-tinged gums, then see your vet immediately.
There, you have it the simple fix on natural ways to help a dog with pneumonia or Dog pneumonia home treatment.
Here are the Symptoms of Aspiration Pneumonia in Dogs
- Difficulty breathing
- Tachypnea, or rapid breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Rapid heart rate
- Wheezing or coughing
Whether your pet was treated at home or hospitalized, it will take around 2 to 3 weeks for your pet’s lungs to totally recover from an attack of pneumonia. During this recovery period, your vet will have your pet on antibiotics and will instruct you to restrict your pet’s activity.
Aspiration pneumonia in Dogs is a lung infection caused by inhaled gastric or oral contents. It can become deadly if left untreated. Treatment involves antibiotics and supportive care for breathing. To diagnose aspiration pneumonia, your doc will order tests to look at lung health and ability to swallow.
Aspiration pneumonia that involves a large portion of both lungs or aspiration of particularly toxic material can be fatal. Aspiration pneumonia can be deadly, and may take a life. The resulting aspiration pneumonia may be more harmful than what your pet ingested at in the first place.
Yes, although it may be difficult for your pet to fully recover from the episode.
Aspiration pneumonia in dogs isn’t something to take lightly, as it can be fatal if it’s not treated right away. The condition may cause painful respiratory distress and require suction of the airways to help the dog resume normal breathing patterns.
Once you notice the signs, treatment at your veterinarian is required immediately. Treatment includes oxygen therapy, intravenous (IV) catheter access, IV fluids, and IV antibiotics. Additional therapy may include: Anti-vomiting medication (e.g., maropitant)
It usually causes ‘kennel cough’, an infection of the bronchi and trachea, but can spread deeper into the lungs, especially in young or old dogs, or dogs with a compromised immune system. Most other causes of bacterial pneumonia are not particularly contagious to other dogs.
Common antibiotic medications for pets include:
- Enrofloxacin (Baytril) – respiratory, skin, and urinary tract infections.
- Metronidazole (Flagyl) – gastrointestinal upsets, periodontal disease.
- Amoxicillin/Clavulanic acid (Clavamox) – wounds, respiratory infections, skin infections.
The best form of prevention is to keep your dog completely isolated from other dogs, as the bacterium responsible for pneumonia is easily spread. You may also want to strengthen your dog’s immune system by keeping him on a healthy diet.
Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia include difficulty breathing, lack of appetite cough, fever, and consequent sluggishness, nasal discharge, dehydration weight loss, and rapid breathing. Intolerance to exercise due to breathing difficulties may also be apparent.
Yes, it can. In fact, your vet might prescribe doxycycline to treat a present infection, or as precaution against a secondary bacterial infection.
Although dogs can get infected through a skin wound that becomes contaminated by soil, most dogs get blastomycosis from inhaling B. dermatitidis fungal spores. Once inhaled, at body temperature, the spores become yeast and cause a fungal infection in the lungs that progresses to pneumonia
Symptoms of chemical pneumonitis include a cough that develops within minutes or hours and a sudden shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include pink frothy sputum and fever. In less severe cases, the symptoms of aspiration pneumonia may occur a day or two after inhalation of the toxin.