In summary, fungal pneumonia in dogs is an inflammation of the lungs that can occur for a number of reasons, ranging from infectious agents, such as bacteria and parasites, to foreign bodies or allergens. Pneumonia is classified according to the area of the lung it affects, the predominant class of cells, and the cause and type of reaction in the lung. The veterinarian must fine tune the diagnosis so that the appropriate treatment can be applied.
Infectious agents are often the most common cause of pneumonia in dogs. It is important to stress that viruses do not cause pneumonia, as they are caused by the bacterial infections associated with them. In addition, this disease often affects young and older dogs or those who have a delicate immune system due to the consumption of drugs or chronic diseases.
Fungal pneumonia in dogs: Contagion, care and treatment
Dog pneumonia caused by non-infectious reasons
Although, as we have seen, pneumonia in dogs is often linked to infectious agents, it is not always the cause. It can be caused by irritants like smoke, inhaled foods, sometimes by swallowing problems, mega-esophagus, etc., as well as by the presence of foreign bodies like seeds, by certain parasites or allergens.
In this part of the article, we want to focus on aspiration pneumonia. This pneumonia occurs in puppies who need to be artificially fed, either because they are part of a litter that has been abandoned or because their mother needs help with breastfeeding. In these cases, it is very important to bottle-feed them with specially designed and formulated milk cans for dogs.
You must bottle feed the puppy by holding it by the stomach. Do not put the puppy on its back, like a human baby, because this position facilitates the ingestion of the milk and ensures it does not pass into the respiratory tract. Likewise, it is dangerous to feed a puppy with a syringe because it will not feed according to what it can swallow, but rather on you will ingest. This feeding technique carries the risk of suffocation as well as inhalation pneumonia.
Dog pneumonia caused by non-infectious reasons
Symptoms of pneumonia in dogs
Although the clinical signs will vary depending on the degree of lung disease, the most common symptoms are:
- Apathy, anorexia
- Wet cough, which indicates the presence of fluids in the lungs
- Rapid breathing in more severe cases or during or after moderate exercise in mild cases
- Occasional nasal discharge
If any of these symptoms appear in your dog, you may need to see a vet. The veterinarian can do x-rays, blood tests or bronchoscopies to offer an approppriate diagnosis.
Treatment of Fungal pneumonia in dogs
Treatment for pneumonia will depend on the severity of the condition, however, it is usually treated with antibiotics for a few weeks. It will be up to your vet to decide which treatment to apply for your dog’s pneumonia. Cough suppressants are not recommended because the cough helps cleanse the lungs, which helps breathing. It is for this reason that mucolytics can be used.
Healing will also depend on how quickly treatment is given as well as on eradication of the underlying cause. It should be taken into account that severe pneumonia, which has not been treated, can become a chronic disease or can even lead to the death of the animal.
The following tips for fighting dog pneumonia are basic, but very important:
- Keep your dog warm
- Offer him quality food, while prioritizing the dog’s preferences because your goal is to get him to eat. Thus, you can give him boxes of wet foods, prepare good homemade meals, etc.
- If necessary, administer fluid therapy, orally or parenterally, as prescribed by the veterinarian.
- It is advisable to keep the respiratory tract moist. Humidifiers are available for dry environments. You can also try to make him inhale steam. One way to do this would be to put it in the bathroom when you run hot water.
- Treat the causes that predispose the onset of pneumonia and / or avoid them as much as possible.
Obviously, if your dog is not getting better, you will need to take him to the vet.
Can fungal pneumonia in dogs be transmitted to humans?
First of all, you must understand that infectious agents and parasites are the disease transmitters. In other words, in the case of dog pneumonia, viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites are the dangerous agents that can be transmitted to humans.
On the other hand, pathogens that cause diseases are often species specific, hence, transmission between animals of different species is not possible. Consequently, a very contagious disease in dogs, such as parvovirus, does not affect either humans or cats.
Almost all of the agents that are involved in dog pneumonia are unique to this species. It is true that one of the bacteria that might be involved, Bordetella bronchiseptica, is also present in humans, although rarely. On the other hand, to date, no direct relationship, which would allow us to affirm that there is contagion between dogs and humans, has been established.