Pulmonary Edema in Dogs

Pulmonary Edema in Dogs is caused by the retention of excess fluid in tissues. When there is fluid collection in the airways or lungs, it is called pulmonary edema. It may be caused by allergies and infections affecting the area or because of disorders in the circulatory system. In dogs, trauma to the head can also result in pulmonary edema.

The usual symptoms are wheezing, breathing with difficulty and with the mouth open. The dog may prefer to stand, instead of lying down or it may try to lie on its chest. Blue lips and tongue may result from inadequate oxygenation of the blood because the air sacs or alveoli in the lungs are filled with fluid and cannot carry out the exchange of gases.

The veterinarian may diagnose pulmonary edema from the symptoms as well as the crackling or wheezing sounds detected on examining the chest. An x-ray may be taken to assess the extent of edema.

Treatment of pulmonary edema starts with stabilizing the animal and administering medications to relieve the fluid build-up. Supplemental oxygen may be given. Since edema can make the airways and the lungs susceptible to bacterial infections, antibiotic therapy may be initiated. But the focus of the treatment should be to detect and remedy the underlying cause.

The veterinarian may require x-rays to be repeated to find out how the edema is resolving. The prognosis varies depending on the success in resolving the cause of the edema.

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