Canine Pneumonia – A guide to it's symptoms, diagnosis & treatment

A Guide to Canine Pneumonia…

Canine pneumonia is an inflammation of your dog’s lungs. This illness is often seen in young puppies that are below the age of one year old – although it can be seen in older dogs.

Dogs that weigh over 25 pounds and working dogs, sporting dogs and Hounds are more predisposed to getting the illness.

It is very important that you get your dog or puppy treated as early as possible because the illness can be life threatening.

Cause of Pneumonia in dogs…The illness can be caused by a number of factors including…

Parasites – The illness may be caused by a parasitic infection including lungworm and heartworm.

Viral – A virus may cause the illness normally as a result of canine distemper or a URI – Upper Respiratory Infection.

FungusCoccidioidomycosis Immitis or Cryptococcus Neoformans – both forms of fungus can also cause the illness.

Bacteria – A secondary bacterial infection due to kennel cough and problems with the esophagus may cause the illness.

Allergy – An allergic reaction may cause too many inflammatory cells to get into the lungs causing the illness – this may be due to cigarette smoke.

Organ Failure – The illness may also be secondary after failure of a specific organ like the heart.

Liquid Aspiration – Canine pneumonia may also be due to the aspiration of liquid – this is relatively common in puppies and is when the milk flows back into the trachea as opposed to the esophagus.

Symptoms…The symptoms of this illness can include…

  • Fever.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Sneezing.
  • Tiredness and lethargy.
  • Listlessness.
  • Breathing difficulties.
  • Shortness of breath.

Treatment…Treatment for Pneumonia may include antibiotics, but if your dog needs to be hospitalized then the Vet may need to provide…

  • Intravenous fluids.
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Chest clapping where physical therapy is used to expand the lungs.
  • The vet may also use medications such as theophylline, terbutaline  albuterol as these are quite effective at opening the bronchial tubes – these are used via a nebulizer or vaporizer. 

Diagnosis…Pneumonia is normally achieved through X-rays of the lungs or through your vet listening to the lungs.

Homeopathic remedies for Pneumonia in dogs and puppies…

You should always get the advice of a trained medical professional before you use any homeopathic remedies but below are a few remedies that you can try with the support of your Vet.

Aconitum Napellis 6c – this is a useful homeopathic remedy for coughing in it’s early stages. This is also a useful remedy for dry coughs that are worst at night.

Ammonium Carbonate 6c – if your dog is struggling with breathing at night then this maybe a useful remedy (speak to your vet first). This can be a useful remedy for dogs that have emphysema and a chronic cough.

Belladonna 30c – this homeopathic remedy is particularly beneficial for coughs that are worst at night. 

Bryonia Alba 6c – when coughing is worst in a dry warm room Bryonia Alba 6c can be very beneficial.

Drosera 6c – is a great remedy for coughs that cause spasms, retching and vomiting.

Phosphorus 30c – this is often used a treatment for the secondary symptoms of Pneumonia (often used for dogs that cough up blood in their sputum).

Pneumonia in a nutshell!

“Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs by either viruses or bacteria”. Thornton K and Eldredge, D, 2005. The Everything Dog Health Book.

As mentioned previously there are numerous causes of Pneumonia but one cause that is less known is when a dog inhales food into the lungs (this is also a cause in humans). 

If your dog does develop Pneumonia the vet may perform a process called ‘tracheal aspirate’. This is when a sterile solution is injected directly into the trachea. The solution is then drawn back into the syringe where the liquid can be cultured and examined.

Watch the video below as it may help you understand the noise that young puppies make when they have Pneumonia.


Ackerman, L. Owners Guide to Dog Health. 1995.

Mash, H. 2011. The Holistic Dog: A complete guide to natural health care. The Crowood Press.

Llewellyn, G. 1998. Homeopathic Remedies for Dogs.

Thornton K and Eldredge, D, 2005. The Everything Dog Health Book.

The American Animal Hospital Association Encyclopedia of Dog Health and Care, 1994. Quill. New York.

The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats. 1996. Rodale Press Inc, Emmaus, Pennsylvania.

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