Canine Pneumonia

Canine Pneumonia

Canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC) is better known as kennel cough. It’s common among dogs, and for the most part, it’s generally mild with a persistent dry cough and seldom becomes a serious respiratory infection in dogs.

However, since summer 2022, a more serious respiratory infection has infected dogs with pneumonia-like symptoms. And unlike kennel cough, which generally presents symptoms a week after exposure and runs its course within 2 weeks, a dog with this more serious infection may not develop symptoms for 1 to 3 weeks … and it escalates rapidly into pneumonia.

Canine Pneumonia Outbreaks

In 2022 the disease appears to be concentrated in New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. However, through the summer of 2023, dog pneumonia cases have been increasing across the country. there have been new cases in other locations, such as Florida. Oregon, California and Michigan. Other states reporting various types of respiratory infections are Texas, Ohio, Wyoming, and North Carolina.

Dog Pneumonia Diagnosis

There’s a list of common respiratory disease symptoms below. In the early stages, pneumonia may look like kennel cough, with a honking cough and nasal discharge. But dogs who develop pneumonia may be lethargic, refuse food or have difficulty breathing. Some may have a fever as well. If your dog has these symptoms, get him to your vet right away. 

Vets will use several types of tests to diagnose dog pneumonia. Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine recommends veterinarians use some of the following tests, in addition to standard blood tests:

  • Bacterial culture (aerobic and anaerobic)
  • Canine respiratory panel to rule out different types of respiratory disease
  • Tracheal wash cytology
  • Virus isolation

Dog Pneumonia Treatment

Dogs with pneumonia typically receive overnight care and medication. They may be put on oxygen or nebulizers. Some dogs are non-responsive to medication. Dogs tested have been negative for bordetella, influenza and coronavirus.

If your dog has a pneumonia diagnosis and you already work with a holistic vet or homeopath, ask for their advice on whether you can manage the condition at home with their guidance. Otherwise, given the severity of some pneumonia cases, your dog may need to be hospitalized.

Causes Of Dog Pneumonia

The causes of this illness aren’t well understood.

Like kennel cough, the infection spreads through dogs in close contact at day care, shelters, kennels, groomers and dog parks where they share toys. But some cases reported no dog-to-dog contact. And because there seems to be a long incubation period, it’s proving difficult to trace the disease in specific cases.

Let’s look more closely at upper respiratory infections in dogs that share the same symptoms and have successful treatment options.

Upper Respiratory Infection In Dogs

An upper respiratory infection in dogs is any condition that affects the lungs, airways, and nasal passages.  If your dog’s having difficulty breathing, is lethargic and off his food, take him to your vet immediately for diagnosis in case it’s pneumonia. Don’t attempt to treat pneumonia at home unless you’re working closely with your holistic vet. 

Symptoms of Respiratory Infection In Dogs

Symptoms of a respiratory infection in dogs can vary depending on the infection and the underlying cause. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Coughing: A dry or moist cough is common in most types of respiratory disease. It may be persistent and can worsen with exercise or excitement. Dogs may cough up white or yellow foamy discharge.
  • Sneezing: Frequent sneezing, often accompanied by nasal discharge.
  • Difficulty breathing: Labored breathing or shortness of breath, including rapid or shallow breathing, can be a sign of a serious respiratory infection like pneumonia.
  • Fever: A high body temperature (above 101.5°F or 38.6°C) suggests the presence of an infection.
  • Loss of appetite: Suggests a more serious infection, possibly pneumonia.
  • Lethargy: Dogs with a more serious infection like pneumonia may be lethargic or weak.
  • Nasal discharge: A runny nose or discharge from the nostrils can be a sign of an infection in the upper respiratory tract.
  • Eye discharge: Some respiratory infections can cause discharge from the eyes, such as conjunctivitis.