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What is Pulmonary Contusion?

Pulmonary contusion is also referred to as hemorrhage of the lung.  Pulmonary contusion occurs when the dog’s lung is crushed or torn during a direct trauma to the chest. Pulmonary contusion will hinder the canine’s ability to breathe and to pass arterial blood to the capillaries. A pneumothorax (collapsed lung) may occur to your pet. The severity of pulmonary contusion varies, depending on the force exerted during the injury to the chest.  Your pet may also have fractured ribs and other injuries not visible to you. Symptoms may be mild to life-threatening.  If you suspect that your pet has pulmonary contusion, immediately take him to a veterinarian.

Pulmonary contusion is the bruising of the canine’s lung tissue. Pulmonary contusion occurs when blunt or impact trauma to the chest causes bleeding and inflammation inside one or both lungs.

Pulmonary Contusion Average Cost

From 535 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,200

Symptoms of Pulmonary Contusion in Dogs

Your pet may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Rapid and shallow breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up blood
  • Vomiting
  • Wheezing sound when your pet exhales
  • Unable to stand
  • Cyanosis 
  • Crying, whining
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Causes of Pulmonary Contusion in Dogs

Trauma to the lungs may have been caused by:

  • Your pet was hit by a motor vehicle 
  • Gunshot
  • Knife wounds
  • Bitten or kicked by another animal
  • Animal abuse caused by a human
  • Falls from considerable heights
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Diagnosis of Pulmonary Contusion in Dogs

If your pet is not mobile, using a large towel or blanket can help transport your pet into your vehicle.  Try to keep movement to in minimum to avoid any further damage to your pet. Your dog may be disorientated and scared, he needs you to remain calm. Call your veterinarian, letting the team know you are on your way with an injured dog.  When you arrive your veterinarian team can meet you outside with a gurney for your pet. 

The veterinarian will ask you questions about your pet’s health history and the symptoms you have observed. He will ask if you know if your pet has received any recent trauma. If your pet is aggressive due to the pain of the injury, he may need to be muzzled and or sedated before the physical examination. Your veterinarian will make sure your pet is stable, he may start an IV for fluids and administer oxygen. During the physical examination the veterinarian may use a stethoscope to listen to the canine’s lungs. He will palpate your pet’s chest and abdomen, feeling for broken and evidence of air leakage from the chest to the underlying skin.  

X-rays of the chest and abdomen may be taken to determine the damage. An ultrasound of your pet’s abdominal and thoracic cavities may give additional information about internal injuries. Blood work may be run to determine if there are any electrolyte changes or underlying problems with organ function. Other tests may include arterial blood gases and a computerized tomography (CT) scan.

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Treatment of Pulmonary Contusion in Dogs

The physical and diagnostic tests will help evaluate the extent of lung damage; your veterinarian can then decide the course of treatment. Generally the main objectives in treating pulmonary contusion are to relieve pain, oxygenation and the removal of blood and fluid in the pulmonary cavities.  If there in an accumulation of air between the chest wall and the lungs (pneumothorax); a thoracentesis will be inserted into the pleural cavity to remove the air. Antibiotics may be recommended to prevent infection in damage tissue. Your veterinarian will probably want to keep your pet overnight for observation. Pain medication will be administered in your pet’s IV.  If your pet is not improving or if it is discovered that your pet is losing blood, surgery will have to be done. 

In the case that the x-rays revealed broken ribs, your veterinarian will wrap bandages to stabilize the ribs. Cage rest with minimal exercise is crucial in lung healing.

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Recovery of Pulmonary Contusion in Dogs

Generally there is improvement of pulmonary contusion within 48 hours but may take up to 10 days to fully recover. Make sure to contact your veterinarian if any new symptom appear, or if your pet seems to be having difficulty breathing. How quickly your pet will improve depends on the severity of the bruising. Pulmonary contusion may have long term ill effects on your pet’s respiratory function. It is important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions. Complications that may occur in dogs with pulmonary contusion may include a secondary bacterial infection, abscesses, lung lobe consolidation, and cavity lesions. It will be necessary to have follow-up visits to your veterinarian to re-examine your pet.

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Pulmonary Contusion Average Cost

From 535 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,200

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Pulmonary Contusion Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Corgi

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8 weeks

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Unknown severity

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8 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Rapid Breathing

She got stepped on not fully and has been rapidly breathing and gagging at times with a little wheeze. She is sleeping now and drank some water

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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8 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Depending on how hard she was stepped on, she may have had some internal injuries, but she may be okay. If she is continuing to have problems breathing or gagging, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine her and make sure that she is okay.

Oct. 8, 2020

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Lulu

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Shih Tzu

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19 Months

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Serious severity

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2 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Pulmonary Contusions
Lung Bruise

My ShihTzu was hit by a car Monday evening and has Pulmonary Contusions- her lungs are severely bruised and she has been in a oxygen kennel now for 38 hours. She is not able to breath outside of the kennel and although seemed to be stable on Tuesday, today (Wednesday morning) she is now doing worse. In the vets words she took one step forward and now 2 steps back. She is almost 2 years old and still is in good spirits. However we are wondering how much time should we take to see if she can recover? I feel I am not being given direction from the vet as they say they cannot really tell if she will recover or not. We want her to recover but she cant live in a oxygen kennel forever. How long should I wait to know she probably will not recover? She also needs hip surgery as her pelvis got popped out of place. But we cannot do anything till her lungs are in better shape. The cost is also very high, and although money is not an issue, I need some guidance on what is normal for recovery and how long to wait or if it is inevitable she will not make it. How long should I give her in the oxygen kennel to show improvement? She is now having some bloody mucus so they gave her antibiotic to prevent phenomena.

Aug. 15, 2018

Lulu's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Depending on how severe the lung trauma was for Lulu, it could be a significant time that Lulu will need to be on oxygen to let her lungs heal. Being hit by a 2000 pound car can cause damage to a 15 pound dog. It may just be a matter of time while she heals and is able to function without supplemental oxygen. Since i can't see her or know the details of her situation, it would be best to ask the veterinarians that are taking care of her what to expect. If she is doing well in oxygen, she may just need time to let her lung trauma heal.

Aug. 15, 2018

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Pulmonary Contusion Average Cost

From 535 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,200

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