Pneumonia in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

It’s always very sad when someone is ill. We get so used to our Pets that we consider them members of our family, and the dog’s illness becomes a cause of anxiety and bad mood for us.

Unfortunately, sometimes animal diseases are very serious and even life-threatening. This type of ailments includes pulmonary edema in dogs. In order to Orient yourself in time, not to start this serious condition and thereby save the dog’s life, you need to know what leads to edema, what are its symptoms and what to do in this case.

What is pulmonary edema?

The main organ responsible for breathing is the lungs, which consist of two parts, which are divided into small “lobules” — segments. Segments, in turn, are formed from pulmonary vesicles or alveoli, surrounded on all sides by the thinnest vessels — capillaries.

Pulmonary edema in dogs occurs due to an excessive amount of blood and plasma in the capillaries and vessels, as a result, blood pressure “squeezes” exudate from them, filling the alveoli and penetrating into the interstitial space. The process in which fluid accumulates in the lungs is gradual, from the bottom up, which makes it possible to catch the deterioration of the dog’s health and help him in time.

Causes of edema

Pulmonary edema in dogs can be an independent disease, but it can also develop against the background of any other pathologies.

The causes of cardiogenic edema are most often diseases of the cardiovascular system:

  • various heart defects;
  • hypertension;
  • rheumatism;
  • ischemia;
  • formation of a blood clot in the pulmonary artery.

Non-cardiogenic edema can be triggered by various external influences and diseases that are not related to heart failure:

  • injury to the head;
  • neoplasms, inflammation, or rupture of blood vessels in the brain;
  • pneumonia or a complex form of bronchitis in dogs;
  • inhalation of gases or chemicals;
  • suffocation due to compression of the airway or due to a foreign object entering it;
  • stressful state;
  • electric shock;
  • bite of a venomous snake or insect;
  • heat stroke;
  • severe allergic reaction.

As we can see, pulmonary edema in a dog has a variety of causes and can occur, for example, after piroplasmosis, which the dog contracted through a tick bite while walking on the street. Therefore, you should carefully monitor your pet on a walk and at home so that it does not overheat, does not climb into dangerous places, do all the necessary vaccinations in time and use protective equipment against dangerous insect bites.

Manifestations of pulmonary edema

Pulmonary edema has different symptoms, and can occur in dogs, both in acute form, and quite slowly. If you notice any of the following signs in your pet, contact your veterinarian immediately, as the bill may go on for hours:

  1. Apathetic and depressed state in which the animal does not respond to affection, favorite food.
  2. The occurrence of shortness of breath, accompanied by atypical behavior of the dog — it stretches its head, spreads its front paws as much as possible, and at the same time can breathe with its mouth open.
  3. Frequent, shallow breathing, which shows that the dog is “breathing with his stomach”.
  4. Dry, staccato cough.
  5. Pale or bluish color of the mucous membranes caused by lack of oxygen.
  6. Oozing from the nostrils and mouth of liquid or foam, sometimes with an admixture of blood.
  7. Decrease in body temperature.

As we can see, the symptoms themselves are quite disturbing and bring suffering to the dog, and not timely assistance can lead to a tragic outcome.

How to behave when symptoms of edema appear?

First, calm down yourself and try to calm the dog, as the excitement will only aggravate its already serious condition. After that, immediately go to the veterinary clinic.

In the car, the dog should be arranged as it will be convenient, holding it so that it does not suffer when driving. At the same time, you must continue to calm the animal, wipe the mucus and foam if they stand out, and constantly ventilate the car interior.

The clinic will give the dog an x-ray that will confirm or deny the pulmonary edema, as well as conduct an examination of the dog, listen to it and perform a number of laboratory tests.

When the diagnosis is clear, your pet will be given first aid and will look for the cause that caused the pulmonary edema. Perhaps the dog will spend several days in a veterinary clinic, where he will be given oxygen inhalations, and he will be under round-the-clock supervision.


After eliminating the most severe symptoms and making a diagnosis, the veterinarian will prescribe treatment for your dog. If the causes of pulmonary edema are heart problems, then the treatment strategy will be as follows:

  • Elimination of edema by intravenous or oral administration of diuretics.
  • Injections of drugs to stimulate the heart.
  • Bloodletting.
  • The administration of steroid drugs.
  • Taking sedatives for excessive nervous excitability of the dog.
  • Relief of cough with expectorants.

To cure pneumonia, which caused pulmonary edema, the veterinarian prescribes a course of antibiotics.

After carrying out emergency measures, treatment can be continued at home, but it will be necessary for the dog to create certain conditions in order to fully cure your pet.

Remedial measures and prevention of the disease

In the room where the dog lives, there should be cool clean air, and for the rest of the dog you need not too soft hypoallergenic bedding. Physical and moral stress should be reduced, that is, if it is a hunting or hound dog, then you need to significantly limit its activity, and for other breeds, slightly reduce the duration and intensity of walks.


It is very important to strictly adhere to the diet and drinking regimen prescribed by the veterinarian. It is also necessary that your pet is not subjected to stress in the process of recovery, so try not to swear at him and communicate with him more.

To avoid such a terrible disease as pulmonary edema in a dog, provide it with proper care and a good room for housing, evenly alternate loads and rest, follow the vaccination schedule and treat the diseases that have appeared in time, and all this will be a good prevention of the occurrence of this disease.

Remember — a quick call to the veterinarian at the first appearance of shortness of breath, cough or atypical breathing of the dog, is a guarantee that your pet will survive, recover, and will continue to please your whole family!