What is Pneumonia?
Just like people your canine companion can come down with pneumonia. Pneumonia is a respiratory infection that causes inflammation in your dog's lungs. The air sac's in the lungs fill with fluid or pus which makes it difficult for your dog to breathe and causes him or her to cough.
- Deep cough
- Rapid breathing
- Difficulty breathing
- Runny nose
- Loss in appetite and weight loss
Why Are DM Dogs Susceptible to Pneumonia
For dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy, a disease that affects the dog's spinal cord and begins with paw knuckling and progresses to full paralysis, becoming less active can cause an increased risk of contracting a number of infections including canine pneumonia.
In the late stages of DM, you can expect your dog to experience difficulty breathing and pneumonia can attack your dog twice as hard which will put more strain on their body. While pneumonia in dogs with degenerative myelopathy is extremely serious it is still treatable! You will want to limit exercise and wheelchair time and make sure to consult with veterinary professionals about treatment and care as your dog recovers.
Treatment of Pneumonia
A dog can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to recover from pneumonia with the proper care. After your dog's vet diagnoses pneumonia, they will most likely prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for fever and pain and bronchodilators and expectorants for coughing and breathing problems. Dogs suffering from a severe case of pneumonia might need to be hospitalized and provided with oxygen, IV antibiotics, or IV fluids.
While your dog recovers you should make sure they rest, you might need to take away stimulating distractions like chase toys and try to keep human and canine siblings away. Give your dog plenty of fluids and you can also provide steam treatments to loosen the congestion in their lungs.
You should bring your dog back to the Vet to have follow-up x-rays every 2 weeks until the lungs are completely clear, and they made need to continue antibiotics for a week or two more after that to ensure that the bacterial infection is completely gone.