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Bacterial Bronchopneumonia in Dogs

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Bronchopneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs and the bronchi, which are the larger air passages conveying air to and within the lungs. Bronchopneumonia is usually related to a bacterial infection and may be caused by many different kinds.

Bacterial pneumonia is an important cause of illness and death in dogs, especially in hospitalized animals. The route of infection is typically inhalation, and bacteria that is spread by blood is less common and can be very difficult to treat.

Pneumonia can occur in dogs and cats, but is more common in dogs. Sporting dogs, hounds, working dogs and mixed breed dogs over 25 pounds may be predisposed. Most affected pets are under one year of age. However, the age range varies from two months to 15 years.

Prompt recognition and treatment of bronchopneumonia is important.

What to Watch For

  • Rapid breathing (tachypnea)
  • Respiratory distress
  • Productive cough
  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Mucopurulent nasal exudates (fluids)
  • Anorexia
  • Listlessness

    Diagnosis

    Diagnostic tests are needed to recognize bronchopneumonia and exclude other diseases. Your veterinarian should perform a complete medical history and physical examination, including careful auscultation of the heart and lungs. Lung sounds are often abnormal with a "crackle" upon auscultation when your dog takes a deep breath.

    Medical history may include questions regarding your pet's previous illness or illnesses, therapy and response to therapy, appetite, weight loss, activity or exercise intolerance, cough and environmental exposure to dusts, smoke and vapors. Other tests may include:

  • Chest X-rays
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Airway cytology
  • Culture (tracheal wash cytology and culture and sensitivity)

    Other tests may include:

  • Heartworm test
  • Bronchoscopy

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