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What is Bacterial Pneumonia?

Bacterial pneumonia in dogs is a very serious condition, and veterinary care should be sought immediately if it is suspected. Bacterial infection triggers an inflammatory response in the lungs that causes respiratory distress. Hounds, large mixed-breeds, and working or sporting breed dogs have a higher chance of developing pneumonia. Dogs with chronic immune deficiencies are most susceptible, but caught in time, antibiotic therapy and supportive care should be able to eradicate the infection.

Bacterial Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs and lower respiratory tract caused by a bacterial infection. It’s most common symptoms are coughing, wheezing and fever. Pneumonia can be fatal as it leads to hypoxemia (lack of oxygen to the brain) and sepsis (inflammation and degradation of organ function).

Bacterial Pneumonia Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $350 - $6,000

Average Cost

$550

Symptoms of Bacterial Pneumonia in Dogs

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Runny nose
  • Weight loss
  • Easily tired
  • Shallow rapid breathing or panting
Types

Bacterial Pneumonia is only one type of pneumonia that affects dogs. They can also suffer from:

  • Aspiration Pneumonia
    • Aspiration Pneumonia is a form of bacterial lung infection caused by inhaling stomach contents due to vomiting or choking. This is commonly seen in brachycephalic dog breeds with short noses, flat faces and wide heads, such as Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boston Terriers. Other factors that present risk include physical issues that impede swallowing or cleft palate deformity. This is normally treated with the use of a broad-spectrum antibiotic, but because of a high rate of recurrence the outlook for an animal with these predispositions is not encouraging. For this reason, it is advised never to try and induce vomiting from your dog.
  • Fungal Pneumonia
    • Fungal Pneumonia, or mycotic pneumonia, is caused by an inhalation of fungal spores from the soil, causing irritation and inflammation in the lungs. This type of pneumonia is usually indicated when the inflammation does not respond to antibiotics, and blood tests and x-rays would be needed to positively identify. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, it can be treated with anti-fungal drugs. This type of pneumonia is challenging to conquer, and may take 2 to 6 months to eradicate fully.
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Causes of Bacterial Pneumonia in Dogs

Many common respiratory bacteria cause bacterial pneumonia:

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica
  • Streptococcus zooepidemicus
  • Pasteurella multocida
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae
  • E. coli
  • Mycoplasma

This most contagious of these is Bordetella, or Kennel Cough. Kennel cough is an infection of the trachea and upper respiratory tract, but can spread lower into the lungs and develop into pneumonia. As it is very contagious through contact with other dogs, most kennels, trainers, and groomers require current Bordetella vaccinations. Viral infection from parainfluenza and distemper can also make the body more vulnerable to pneumonia.

Dogs with compromised immune systems or metabolic diseases, such as renal failure, Cushing’s disease, diabetes, and Addison’s disease are more susceptible to bacterial pneumonia. Environmental factors like exposure to smoke, smog, or other lung irritants can also cause a dog to be more likely to contract bacterial pneumonia.

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Diagnosis of Bacterial Pneumonia in Dogs

Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia are very serious, and veterinary care should be sought immediately. Your veterinarian will do a physical exam, listening to the lungs with a stethoscope to determine if there is wheezing or crackling when your dog breathes.

A chest x-ray may be called for to determine the full degree of inflammation present in the lungs. The best way to determine the exact cause of the infection is a tracheal wash, where saline is flushed into the airway and then retrieved. That fluid collected can then be viewed under a microscope or cultured in a lab to identify the infecting bacteria and offer a more precise treatment plan. Blood and fecal material may also be sampled to test for parasites, as some of those present with symptoms similar to bacterial pneumonia.

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Treatment of Bacterial Pneumonia in Dogs

Treatment will start immediately with a broad-spectrum antibiotic. Once the specific infecting bacterium is identified through lab testing, a more precise antibiotic may be prescribed. Other drugs may be prescribed for symptom control, including bronchodilators to ease breathing and expectorants to loosen mucus in their lungs. Short bursts of mild exercise will likely be encouraged if the dog is physically able, as this will help stimulate a productive cough that will help clear the animals’ lungs. In cases where the dog is not well enough to move around, they should be manually moved often, to keep fluid from settling on one side of the body.

If the dog is in acute distress, hospitalization may be necessary so that they may be monitored closely and given oxygen, nebulizer breathing treatments, and IV fluids.

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Recovery of Bacterial Pneumonia in Dogs

Recovery from bacterial pneumonia can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. The dog should 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 eradicated. Aside from the mild exercise to help clear their lungs, activity should remain restricted until your veterinarian has cleared the dog for normal life.

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Bacterial Pneumonia Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $350 - $6,000

Average Cost

$550

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Bacterial Pneumonia Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Ziggy

dog-breed-icon

Boxer

dog-age-icon

16 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Cough With Nasal And Eye Discharge

How do I know when my puppy is getting better. He is just turning 4 months. He was coughing when we got him and had nose and eye discharge. Took him to the vet and he was put on antibiotic injections and neb treatments for 7 days. Seemed to be getting better and then week later he had discharge again. Took him back and X-ray showed fluid in lungs. He is now on day 8 of cephalexin. Still with discharge. Is this because the mucus is breaking up? Or is he not getting better? We also have a vaporizer on every night

July 21, 2018

Ziggy's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Discharge may still occur during treatment as it will take some time for the antibiotics to fully kick in and for all mucus to be discharged, in severe infections there may be a prolonged treatment time past normal courses of treatment. Generally you should start to see a reduction in the severity of symptoms with easier breathing and a reduction with time in discharge, if there is no improvement it may be worth going for a culture and sensitivity test to identify the infection and select the most appropriate antibiotic for treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 21, 2018

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Utley

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Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing

Our 5 year old yellow lab was diagnosed with pneumonia a month ago, had X-rays and blood work done and was diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia. We had X-rays done initially when it was diagnosed and twice after that with the last X-rays done 10 days ago or so. The vet said that the last X-rays were similar to the second round of X-rays but didn’t need follow up X-rays if the dog seemed back to normal. We just finished out his 33 day supply of the medicine as instructed. Should I request another round of X-rays to make sure it’s completely gone? Our dog seems back to normal but just checking as this is a new vet for us.

July 16, 2018

Utley's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

If Utley is back to normal you should just keep an eye on him for the meantime to ensure that no symptoms return; x-rays may may be clear but still may be a little cloudy but still OK. If he is alright I wouldn’t really be worried. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 16, 2018

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Rocco

dog-breed-icon

Akita

dog-age-icon

4 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Gagging, Vomiting Bile

My 4 year old Akita was diagnosed with Kennel Cough 2 weeks ago. At that time, he was given oxycodone for his cough and Clavamox because he was running a fever. I went out of town for 3 days and my husband finished giving him the Clavamox on Monday. I got back Wednesday and Rocco was panting and breathing through his mouth. He was breathing very fast so I took him back to the same veterinary clinic. His heart and lungs sounded fine on the exam, and he had no temperature, but his x-rays showed pneumonia. I am not sure how he got the pneumonia while taking the Clavamox, but he did. He was given Doxycycline Tabs 100 mg and gets 3 tabs every 12 hours, and Enroflaxin tabs 136 mg , and he gets 3 tabs every 24 hours. He was eating and drinking water normally and had not lost any weight when I took him in on Thursday. I started both antibiotics Thursday night, and he had the Doxycyline this morning in a pill pocket, but I could not get him to eat anything all day. He hasn't really eaten since Thursday and he is periodically vomiting yellow bile and water. He lies in the same spot all day, he barely moves unless someone comes to the door. He goes on his walks. I skipped his antibiotics tonight because he quit eating and has been throwing up bile all day. Should I give him the antibiotics in the morning even though he is not eating? It seems like he is on really high doses of the antibiotics and I think they are making him sick. I don't want the pneumonia to get worse, but right now he is a lot sicker than he was before he started taking them. Does he need to be put on different meds or should I try force feeding him a small amount of canned food with his meds? He may not let me do that. He has been growling at me the last few times I checked his gums. They are nice and pink as they should be.

June 23, 2018

Rocco's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Currently it seems that Rocco is on a high dose of doxycycline and enrofloxacin, however I cannot tell for certain since you haven’t indicated Rocco’s weight so I’m assuming he is within the weight range of AKC description; any dosage it at your Veterinarian’s discretion based on the severity of the symptoms. You should note however that a loss of appetite and vomiting are both common side effects of both antibiotics (as well as many other medications) and you should continue to treat Rocco as prescribed, you should visit your Veterinarian if you have any concerns. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 23, 2018

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Abby

dog-breed-icon

Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

15 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing
Wheezing

I put my 15.5 yr old chihuahua down about a year ago primarily due to pneumonia. She coughed incessantly and vet took chest xray and said it was enlarged heart up against the trachea causing it. She was rxd hydrocodone and all was well for about 2 wks. That's when coughing started again and so assumed was still heart against trachea and vet and I decided to increase hydrocodone dose. Cough still was not going away even after adding cerenia to the RX mix. Another chest xray taken about a month after the original. Dx'd with pneumonia and rx'd clavamox. Later that evening her coughing and breathing were so bad I could not see her suffer any longer and also figured she'd be on hydrocodone for the rest of her life due to enlarged heart. Xrays indicated no fluid in lungs. She was dx'd with mitral valve regurgitation about 5 yrs before and managed by cardiologist visits and meds. I still have so many unanswered questions. The ones most important to me lately: could the original chest xray have shown bordatella or some other condition that turned into the pneumonia? The original xray was read by a radiologist. Could the enlarged heart made my little girl more susceptible to pneumonia? Or.. Was it possible it was two truly independent events? - heart against trachea and then pneumonia developed later? Part of my decision to put her down was that even if the pneumonia was cured, she would still have an enlarged heart affecting quality of life for the rest of her days (along with the quality of life dealing with after effects of pneumonia). Thank you for providing any insights you may have. I can't seem to get straight answers to these questions from my vet or cardiologist.

May 19, 2018

Abby's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Bordetella would not have shown up on an x-ray, no, and on her initial x-ray, her enlarged heart and lack of fluid would have been the primary important findings. Her enlarged heart would not have predisposed her to pneumonia, and that seems to be two unrelated things. I'm very sorry that you had to make that decision for Abby, even when we know we are performing a kindness, it is still very difficult.

May 19, 2018

Thank you Dr King. Reading more of other comments and this, I still can't make sense of why vets did not take cultures in initial visit to test for bordetella. I can only guess that the clinical symptoms did not suggest a possibility of bordetella? I am still left thinking that she had undiagnosed bordetella in her initial visit that developed into pneumonia and the whole time I was given the impression it was an enlarged heart that was being doused with hydrocodone.

July 4, 2018

Abby's Owner

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Miles

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Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

11 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Breathing Difficulty

Miley has been fighting “pneumonia” for about 8 weeks. We’ve tried 3 antibiotics and they haven’t worked. We had a lung wash and are waiting for results- I’m so nervous waiting because she has rapid breathing, crackling, and her stomach contracts. She’s also out of breath after going out to potty. Is there a chance she’ll be able to withstand until the results come back and result specific medicine takes affect? I’m worried I made the wrong decision with the lung wash - she’s struggled more since then. Did I do the right thing? I’ve taken her in multiple times but they want over $500 to keep/monitor overnight- she’s gettig oxygen, eating, drinking, barking and wagging (sometimes).

April 29, 2018

Miles' Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

It can be very difficult to treat lung disease wthout knowing what the disease is, and sometimes diagnostic tests are needed to find that information out. Without seeing Miles, I can't comment on what might be going on with him, but if he needs to be on oxygen while you are waiting for the test results to come back, that may be what he needs. If you aren't sure as to whether he is okay, it would be best to have a recheck with your veterinarian, as they can assess his breathing, cardiac condition, and make sure that he is stable. I hope that he is okay.

April 30, 2018

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Triton

dog-breed-icon

Flat-Coated Retriever

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing

My 6 yr old Flat Coated Retriever had what the vet thought was Kennel Cough (without lab test) that two weeks into treatment turned into pneumonia. He had high fever, lethargic, weak and wouldn’t eat. Emergency room treated him for pneumonia. It’s now 8 weeks later and he did 6 weeks of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory meds. He is on 6th day of prednisone now and still presents a cough intermittently. Last X-ray showed a few white dots...this seems too long and too extreme.

dog-name-icon

Lola

dog-breed-icon

French Bulldog

dog-age-icon

10 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Pneumonia, Kennel Cough,

My 10 weeks old French bulldog has kennel cough, cold, respiratory tract infection and pneumonia. She at the vet for almost 5 days, within the 1 day she had discharge coming out of her nose and eyes were red with discharge, heavy breathing, lost of appetite, fever and dehydration. She had to been given her oxygen, Ivy, getting feed by a syringe, she’s down to 2pd. This is the 6 days at the vet, she hasn’t been on oxygen at all, her eyes clear up, but bubbles are still coming out of her nose, and she still has respiratory infection. She’s on enrofloxacin and clavamox. Will she recover from this, if she’s going to be at the vet within 2 weeks. She been getting care sinces September 15 2019 till now!

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Trigga

dog-breed-icon

Mastiff

dog-age-icon

4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing Vomiting

Trigga is 4 years old and been a happy healthy dog until last week we noticed a large dent to the left side of his head I immediately phoned our vet who came to the house and quickly hospitalised him but unfortunately he continued to go down hill extremely rapid as he vomits every time he drinks anything and is eating next to nothing he was thirteen stone but it’s dropping off him our vet has diagnosed bacterial pneumonia but is also worried that tumours may also be present he’s on metronidazole 3 twice daily and every so often shows is signs he is fighting back Although on the whole it seems his spirit is leaving him any advice would be gratefully recieved he is currently st home

dog-name-icon

Lola

dog-breed-icon

Pug

dog-age-icon

6 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Fluid In Lung

My 6 month old pug puppy went into the vets on an emergency visit. She was showing signs of being lethargic, no interest in food, wobbly when she walked, when I called my vet the assumed her to be hypoglycemic and told me to get her karo syrup. 2 days after that I noticed very labored breathing and a low heart rate. We went to the vets, they were very concerned. She immediately went into an oxygen chamber, antibiotics. I think they tried a round of steroids, her heart rate around 30-40 bpm. They first diagnosed her with non cardiogenic pulmonary edema. The amount of fluid in her lungs was alarming. She was hospitalized for 4 days and sent home on the 5th day with antibiotics and strict rest. On the night of day 7 I could tell she was getting bad again and sent her back to the vets on the night of day 8. Her xrays came back worse then before ( a lot more fluid in her lungs) she’s still been on antibiotics, she shows excitement (wags tail, gives kisses when I visit her) but still is in the oxygen chamber, she’s starting to retain a lot of fluid and looks “flabby” like loose skin on her belly. The fluid in her lungs is not improving at all ( it’s been 10 days) they now have her diagnosed with pneumonia & are treating her with antibiotics. We’ve been made aware that putting her down may be an outcome of this, but she shows like she wants to put up a fight and shows a will to live. How do we know when to stop treatment, how long should we give her time to heal? She also hasn’t coughed during this time, hasn’t coughed anything up, hasn’t has a fever, or vomiting/ diarrhea. A lot of fluid in her lungs and a very low heart rate

dog-name-icon

Bullet

dog-breed-icon

English Bulldog

dog-age-icon

Six Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing
Tired
Blood Nose
Vommiting
Struggling To Breathe

Hello, my dog is a English bulldog, he had vomited a few times and one morning my family and I woke up and he had two blood noses in the course of 5 minutes when had difficulty breathing and was really tired looking. He is now 6 years old and was really healthy. The vets don’t understand why he had a blood nose and is in the clinic at this time. He has been getting better until his fever had gotten higher/hotter. The vets think he won’t make it, thoughts on why he has a blood nose?

Bacterial Pneumonia Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $350 - $6,000

Average Cost

$550