8-Week Old Lab Mix Puppy Fights Pneumonia
Now, when a pet parent tells me their new puppy has suddenly gotten boney, won’t eat, vomits once and has diarrhea, I doubt the problem is only 24 hours old.
In eight-week-old Shella’s case, she had worms for a month (the shelter diagnosed hookworms and gave directions to see a vet the month before she saw me.) The little puppy was weak. with crusty yellow discharge by her eyes and her nose.
She breathed fast and noisily, was crackling, fluidy sounds emanating from her chest cavity. Her belly hung down to her knees.
Radiographs (x-rays) confirmed my fear that the little lab puppy had full-blown pneumonia. Her lungs had little space for air, because of the fluid build-up in the air sacs (alveoli) and she was super anemic, which means she had less red blood cells to carry the little bit of oxygen her lungs picked up. (In the picture, see how her tongue is salmon pink, instead of a bright, healthy pinkish-red?)
After two days of fluids, nebulization, hand feeding, and tender loving care, Shella looked like a new dog.
Puppies can develop pneumonia for many reasons:
- Distemper virus
- Canine H3N8 Influenza
- Bacterial pneumonia
- H1N1 Influenza has been confirmed to spread from infected human to dog
- many more….
In Shella’s case, she developed aspiration pneumonia. Her family isolated from other dogs for at least five weeks before she developed symptoms, no humans in the house were ill. And she became violently and suddenly sick.
What happened was: Shella vomited because her intestinal hookworm infection made her symptomatic with gastroenteritis. She coughed in the middle of vomiting and breathed in some vomit. Now she had an unfamiliar liquid in her lungs, full of bacteria, too!
The lungs react violently to improper materials onside them (ever cough and choke after just breathing in a little piece of dog fur?) Imagine spoonfuls of vomit in your lungs. You become very sick very fast.
Shella continued her treatments for over a month, and eventually made a full recovery!
Here’s Shella’s picture just after her first medical treatment. She really enjoys eating out of the nurse’s hand!