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German Shepherd with Pneumonia

By: Dr. Jon Rappaport

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Our question this week was:

My 22 month old German Shepherd Tara was diagnosed with pneumonia 2 weeks ago. She was on Clavamox (I think that's right) antibiotic for 2 weeks and then 1 1/2 days after she finished the medicine she started coughing again so we took her back to the vet and the doctor said the pneumonia looked better but was not gone yet. He put her on another 2 weeks of antibiotic and we will take her back for more x-rays to make sure it's gone. Her energy level is good and she's eating well.

We are terribly worried about her and are wondering if it's normal for it to take so long for pneumonia to clear up. She had a full blood panel done and everything was normal. I guess we could use some reassurance that dogs do recover completely from this. Also, is there anything we can give her supplement wise to boost her immune system? We want to help her recover and keep her as healthy as possible. We love her more than anything in the world - She's our baby!

Thank you for your time and kindness.

Sharon Ameriguian


Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. I'm sorry to hear about your dogs'
pneumonia. It sounds like your dog is doing pretty well if the blood work is normal and she is eating and drinking well with a good energy level.

Dogs can recover fully from pneumonia. Sometimes dogs do need antibiotics for longer than the two initial couple weeks. Pneumonia, as you know, is an infection affecting the lungs. It is generally diagnosed by blood work, x-rays, and evaluation of the fluids from the respiratory tract. The fluid is evaluated for evidence of bacteria or other organisms and often used to perform a culture to determine which antibiotics work best. There are different causes of pneumonia. Do they know if it was a bacterial pneumonia or aspiration pneumonia? Aspiration pneumonia is an inflammatory lung disorder that occurs when your dog inhales a foreign substance, which can be caused by several underlying diseases.

As far as your question about bolstering her immune system, there is not one specific product that I'd recommend. However, I would recommend that you keep your dog warm, dry and indoor and avoid over-exercising her. Make sure she has plenty of fresh clean water and that she is eating a good quality food well. I'd also avoid cough suppressants unless recommended by your vet. Make sure you follow-up with your vet for any repeat laboratory tests and radiographs and give all of the prescribed antibiotics for as long as they are recommended.

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 if boarding or if there is much exposure to other dogs.

A couple articles that might be helpful to you is on our Petplace.com is "Bacterial Bronchopneumonia in Dogs" and "Aspiration Pneumonia in Dogs"


Best of luck!


Dr. Jon




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