Dog pneumonia worries owners


Selena Butler, News Editor

A canine pneumonia outbreak in New England has quickly spread and made its way toward North Carolina. Many dog owners are concerned for their pets, as the infection could be life-threatening.

Pneumonia, an infection in the lungs, presents itself in humans similarly to how it does in dogs. When infected, dogs could experience difficulty breathing, coughing, lethargy, and other feverish symptoms. 

The outbreak is mainly caused by infected dogs interacting with other dogs, causing them to catch pneumonia. Places like dog daycares, parks, and boarding facilities have been hotspots for infection, but this is not the only way that dogs contract pneumonia. 

Veterinary technician Tami Lynch said, ¨Some can be from a foreign body, some after surgery, and some can be idiopathic.” This means that there is no known reason for the infection. ¨One kind I deal with often is called aspiration pneumonia. For whatever reason, some fluid gets into the lungs, (and) turns into an infection,” said Lynch.

There are other infections, viruses, and diseases that could present themselves as pneumonia. Lung masses, abscesses, or tumors could all appear as the infection. To get a proper diagnosis, your dog should be taken to the vet for an evaluation. 

Once a dog is diagnosed, the recovery process is expected to take two to four weeks. Many components affect how long it takes for a dog to recover.

 ¨The severity of the case, dog’s age, immune system, and how quickly the owners caught it,” Lynch explained are factors that determine the recovery time and recovery process. For infected dogs, the recovery process includes rest, pain medication, antibiotics, and in extreme cases, an oxygen tank. Similar to humans, dogs who are older and have a weak immune system have a lower chance of recovering.

Owners have expressed their distress surrounding the outbreak. 

“It’s scary because I do not want to see (my dog) go through any pain,” said junior Tori Giannini. Owners are being more attentive to their dog’s behavior and cautious of who their dog interacts with. “I plan to take my dog to the vet if I see symptoms,” said Giannini. 

Canine pneumonia can not be spread to humans nor can humans spread pneumonia to dogs. If your dog is infected, it is important to isolate them from other dogs to ensure the infection stops spreading. If you suspect any symptoms of pneumonia, take your dog to the vet for an assessment.