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Bacterial Bronchopneumonia in Dogs

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Treatment

Pneumonia causes difficulty breathing and can be a severe and progressive condition. Severely ill pets may require hospitalization with oxygen, intravenous fluids, antibiotics and supportive care. Mildly affected pets that are well hydrated and eating properly may be treated as outpatients, but would require frequent follow-ups to monitor the progression of the infection. Treatments for bronchopneumonia may include one or more of the following:

  • Antibiotics for at least three weeks or longer pending clinical results and radiographs

  • Humidified oxygen for animals that have trouble breathing

  • Plenty of fluids and warmth

  • Airway humidification to assist in expectoration of secretions

  • Percussion of the thorax (coupage) to help loosen and remove secretions

    Some treatment may not be of help and are rarely used. These include:

  • Expectorants like guaifenesin

  • Bronchodilator therapy, although it may reverse irritative bronchoconstriction and strengthen respiratory muscle effort in dyspneic animals.

  • Cough suppressants

    Home Care and Prevention

    Keep your pet warm, dry and indoors, if possible, and encourage him to eat and drink. Avoid cough suppressants.

    Follow-up with your veterinarian for examinations, laboratory tests and radiographs. Administer any veterinary-prescribed antibiotics.

    Do not over-exercise your pet; allow only what your pet can tolerate. Do not allow your pet to get short of breath during exercise/activity. Use a harness instead of a collar; this is less restricting to the neck, and will allow your pet to breathe easier.

    There aren't any specific recommendations for prevention of pneumonia other than eliminating the predisposing causes. If your pet is exposed to smoke, dusts, fumes, barns or crop dust, these should be eliminated. Provide routine vaccinations as recommended by your veterinarian and vaccinate dogs for kennel cough (Bordetella bronchiseptica) if boarding or if there is much exposure to other dogs.

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