Diseases of the Lungs in Dogs

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Dogs can suffer from various lung diseases.
Dogs can suffer from various lung diseases. (Image: french bulldog image by Lars Christensen from Fotolia.com)

Dogs can suffer from a variety of lung diseases. Some are easily treated and can result in full recovery. Others, such as lung cancer, are much more serious and can result in death if not treated quickly enough. If your dog begins coughing, wheezing or having trouble breathing, take her to see the veterinarian. Those are symptoms of many different kinds of lung afflictions.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is probably the most dangerous of all the kinds of lung diseases. Lung cancer is often not caught in its early stages because the symptoms can seem benign. They include lethargy, weight loss, coughing and difficulty breathing. Once lung cancer is diagnosed, treatment can be difficult and costly. Lung tumors can be surgically removed and the dog can also receive chemotherapy and radiation. Dogs can recover fully.

Distemper

Most dogs in the United States are vaccinated against distemper, so it isn't often seen. However, dogs that aren't vaccinated can contract the disease. The first symptoms are a dry cough, followed by listlessness and a fever of 103 degrees to 105 degrees. They can have a thick, yellow discharge from the nose and mouth. Most will recover within two weeks, but fatal intestinal and neurological diseases can develop. Distemper is caused by a virus, so antibiotics won't help it, but antibiotics often are given to dogs with distemper to ward off secondary infections.

Blastomycosis

Blastomycosis is caused when dogs breathe fungus present in the soil in the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio River Valley regions. If left untreated, this disease can spread from the lungs to the kidneys, eyes, bones and brain. Symptoms are coughing, difficulty breathing, fever and weight loss, among others. When your veterinarian diagnoses your dog with blastomycosis, he can give medications intravenously or orally. Prognosis is dependent on how severe the lung infection is, as well as how much it has spread throughout the body.

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