The most common respiratory disease is pneumonia, simply defined as an inflammation of the lungs. The smart books define several different types of pneumonia (focal, lobar, lobular, diffuse, etc), which, for our discussions, are not of any prime interest. If I had to define the types of pneumonia, I would base my differentiation on the causative agents (bacteria, viruses, fungi, toxins, parasites, aspirated foreign bodies) and not on the place of action and infection. Also, I like to differentiate whether the pneumonia is of a recent onset (acute) or whether the symptoms have been exhibiting themselves for weeks/months (chronic).

The initial problem in pneumonia seems to originate from a sudden increase in the flora (bacteria) in the nasal passages. This results in a sudden increase in the amount of bacteria breathed into the lungs, so much so that the natural defence mechanism of the lungs (bacteria-fighting cells) is overwhelmed.

These bacteria localize themselves in the lung tissue and reproduce themselves in huge quantities. This leads to severe inflammation.

I should mention that stress situations (travel, new environments, congested kennels, poor nutrition, etc) tend to make the animal more vulnerable to pneumonia. Also, often the key event leading to many pneumonia occurrences has to do with the misuse of antibiotics.

Looking cheekily into the camera this cute kitten is waiting at the GSPCA for someone to offer her a good home


* High fever

* Rapid breathing

* Coughing

* Accelerated pulse rate

* Rattling and bubbling sounds (can be heard if ear is placed on the rib cage)

* Cyanosis (inside of lips, gums and tongue and inside of eyelids become pale blue) due to a lack of oxygen entering the blood stream via the impaired lungs and an accumulation of carbon dioxide

* Dog sits with its head extended and elbows turned outwards, so as to allow easier breathing (expansion of chest)

* Dogs do not wish to lie down (which would further restrict breathing action)


* Combat the fever with anti-fever tablets (ask your vet which product you should use).

* Use antibiotics, if it is a bacteria-caused pneumonia (again, only under veterinary advice and supervision).

* Deworm animal, if it is a pneumonia caused by the migration of internal parasites.

* Use anti-fungal medication, if fungi have been diagnosed as the causative agents.

* Make sure that clean drinking water is available, if the dog is so weak that it will not drink on its own, then you must force-feed it with water via a syringe.

NB   (i)  Supportive therapy is of vital importance. This would include placing the dog in a clean, draft free environment and force-feeding him with a nutritious liquid (blended) diet.

(ii) Do not give cough suppressants. Coughing is part of the dog’s defence mechanism which helps clear the air passages.

Happy Emancipation Day!

Please implement disease preventative measures (vaccinations, routine dewormings, monthly anti-heartworm medication, etc) and adopt-a-pet from the GSPCA’s Animal Clinic and Shelter at Robb Street and Orange Walk, if you have the wherewithal to care well for the animals.  Do not stray your unwanted pets, take them to the GSPCA’s Clinic and Shelter instead. If you do not wish your pet to have puppies or kittens, you may exploit the GSPCA’s free spay and neutering programme. If you see anyone being cruel to an animal, or if you need any technical information, please get in touch with the Clinic and Shelter by calling 226-4237.

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