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Pneumonia in dogs - Types, symptoms and treatment

11 Aug 2015 | by | Posted in: Health


In layman terms, pneumonia in dogs is a lung infection or inflammation of lungs. Bronchitis is defined as the inflammation of the bronchi in the lung while pneumonia is the inflammation of the cells and fluid in the lungs, airways and alveoli (the part of the airways in lungs where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged). Often, bronchitis and pneumonia go hand in hand.

In case of pneumonia, the first thing you will notice is a persistent cough. However, all cough is not pneumonia. 

Types of pneumonia

There are four main kinds of pneumonia that affect dogs

  • Fungal pneumonia – Fungal pneumonia is caused due to a deep fungal infection in the lungs. Male dogs and specific dog breeds such as German Shepherds are more susceptible to developing pneumonia
  • Bacterial pneumonia – Bacterial pneumonia is the most common type of pneumonia in dogs. Sporting dogs, hounds and large breed dogs are more susceptible to developing bacterial pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia is known to lead to hypoxemia (severely low levels of oxygen in the blood) and sepsis (presence of toxic pus forming bacteria in blood)
  • Viral pneumonia – Viral pneumonia is spread mostly due to the presence of canine distemper virus and canine influenza virus in the dogs.
  • Parasitic pneumonia – Parasitic pneumonia is spread mainly due to lungworms.


When it comes to diagnosing pneumonia, one has to be careful. A veterinarian will be able to diagnose pneumonia by hearing the lung sounds and conducting some blood culture and tests. As a pet parent, you will have to be careful about the health of your pets and will have to contact a veterinarian if any of the symptoms persist.

Some of the common symptoms of pneumonia include:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Consequent weight loss
  • Sluggishness / lameness
  • Nasal discharge
  • Dehydration
  • Rapid breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Depression


Post tests and assessment if pneumonia is detected, your pooch will be given medication based on the severity of the pneumonia. Veterinarian may prescribe anti – microbial and anti – biotic medication to reduce the infection in the lungs. In case multiple symptoms are present, the veterinarian may advise hospitalization for complete care.

In case of respiratory distress, oxygen therapy will be advised for the pooch. The veterinarian may advise intravenous fluids to take care of the dehydration.

Living and management

If your pooch has pneumonia, you will have to make sure that he / she is not in contact with other dogs. Cough and cold may spread pneumonia especially if it is of the viral or bacterial kind.

You will have to restrict your pooch’s fun and play time to reduce the stress on lungs while breathing. Medication will have to be administered at regular intervals along with a protein rich diet to aid in recovery. 

Pneumonia is curable if caught on time, after all a stitch in time saves nine.

About the Author


"An ardent writer, a devoted pet parent and a foodie at heart, I believe life is all about new experiences and expressions"

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