Understanding Pulmonary Disorders in Dogs

Issues that cause strain or trouble breathing can be quite scary for your dog, and if not treated quickly they can have a number of potential complications. Our vets talk about pulmonary disorders in dogs and how our veterinary internal medicine department in Columbia can help manage these conditions.

Pulmonary Disorders That Can Affect Dogs

There are a variety of conditions that can affect the function of your dog's lungs. Some of the most common are:

Canine Distemper Virus: This virus can affect a number of internal systems including the respiratory system. Distemper is quick to spread in highly populated areas and confined spaces with many dogs.

Treatment options are limited in dogs with distemper. Vaccinations are available for distemper from your Columbia vets. 

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): COPD is a long-term condition that causes inflammation in the pulmonary or respiratory system. It is irreversible and progresses slowly. It can also be called chronic bronchitis.

While COPD can’t be cured, some treatments can help manage it. Possible treatments include antibiotics, bronchodilators, and chest physiotherapy.

Kennel Cough: Kennel cough is a highly contagious illness that can be caused by either bacteria or a virus. It is called kennel cough because it quickly spreads through dogs when they are in close contact with one another.

Kennel cough is most common in the middle to late summer. Antibiotics can help treat dogs who come down with kennel cough.

Pneumonia: This lung infection causes inflammation of the lungs. The causes of pneumonia range from allergens, lungworms, bacteria, viruses, and aspirated food, fluids, or foreign bodies.

Antibiotics can be used to treat pneumonia.

Lung Tumors: Lung tumors often are caused by tumors from other parts of the body such as the abdominal organ, bones, or skin. The most common tumor that starts in the lungs is pulmonary adenocarcinoma. Most of these tumors are malignant.

Most often, pulmonary adenocarcinoma occurs in animals who are more senior (over the age of 11).

Lung tumors are very hard to treat. Surgery is an option, but if the tumor has spread, it's less likely to be effective.

Colds and Flu: Much like humans, dogs can get colds and flu. The dog versions of these can have many of the same symptoms as they do in humans, and they can lead to much more serious illnesses if not treated. Most of the time, the immune system is strong enough that treatment isn’t warranted.

However, if the symptoms are bad, you can help your dog feel better by providing lots of fluids, antibiotics, and supplemental feedings.

The Symptoms of Pulmonary Disorders

Some of the signs that are commonly seen in dogs with pulmonary disorders are:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Gagging after coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Blue gums
  • Nasal congestion
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Fainting

Depending on the condition, other symptoms may also be present. Lethargy, fever, lack of appetite, and numerous other systems may also be noticeable to pet owners.

Treatment Options For Pulmonary Disorders

Some respiratory conditions can be diagnosed by your Columbia. However, they may require further treatment. Diagnosing these conditions could require X-rays or other tests like blood. Treatments are different for different respiratory conditions. Antibiotics can be helpful in some cases, but they won’t help all conditions. Respiratory and ventilatory therapies can help with lung problems. Ventilator treatments can also be helpful for a dog with breathing troubles.

Helping to Prevent Issues Affecting the Lungs

Not all respiratory problems can be prevented, but some can be prevented. Like human flu spots, there is always a possibility that your dog will get a strain that they weren’t vaccinated for, but often the vaccine is very effective in preventing illness. In the case of some of these illnesses, the best thing you can do for your pet is just to watch for signs of illness. 

Managing Internal Conditions in Pets

Veterinary internal medicine involves treating diseases and disorders of animals' internal systems.

Our veterinarians have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating difficult cases ranging from brain and nervous system disorders to lung diseases and tumors.

At Maury County Veterinary Hospital, we are able to take on a number of internal medicine conditions, and our vets in Columbia have various diagnostic tools and treatment methods at our disposal to help your pet.

We can manage patients with multiple diseases or disorders and provide effective treatment alternatives for those who do not respond well to standard procedures.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog is having difficulties breathing, please contact our Columbia vets right away.