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Pulmonary Fibrosis in Dogs

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Treatment In-depth

Treatments for PF may include one or more of the following:

  • Treatment of PF must be individualized based on the severity of the condition, the cause, secondary diseases or conditions and other factors that must be analyzed by your veterinarian. Therapy of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is frustrating because as the underlying cause of lung inflammation is rarely determined or controlled and therapy does not reverse pre-existent fibrosis.

  • A trial course of bronchodilators using sustained-release theophylline, aminophylline or oxtriphylline should be considered.

  • Bronchodilator drugs may increase the vigor of contraction of the respiratory muscles, which may be useful in dogs with chronic shortness of breath.

  • Antibiotics are not helpful.

  • Prednisone can be used if tests (BAL) determine active airway inflammation with an absence of infection. This will not reverse the existing fibrosis but may decrease ongoing lung inflammation (alveolitis) and prevent further damage. Chronic treatment is controversial but one approach is to prescribe pulsed prednisone (for example, twice-daily dosing for one week per month).

  • The benefits, if any, of the immunosuppressive drug, cyclophosphamide, have not been evaluated in the dog but this is commonly used in humans with PF and active alveolitis.

  • The prognosis in advanced pulmonary fibrosis is unfavorable and gradual clinical deterioration is expected. Severe hypoxemia (low oxygen content in blood) or progressive right-sided heart dysfunction may be observed in very advanced cases.

  • Many pets are eventually euthanized.

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