What Are the Causes of Upper Lung Pneumonia in a Dog?

by Deborah Lundin
    Moldy hay is often enough to trigger an allergy related pneumonia in your dog.

    Moldy hay is often enough to trigger an allergy related pneumonia in your dog.

    Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

    Your dog’s respiratory system consists of two different parts. The upper respiratory tract consists of the nose, nasal sinuses, throat and trachea. The lower tract includes the bronchi, bronchioles and alveoli in the lungs. Upper lung pneumonia, or bronchopneumonia, occurs when both sections of the respiratory system become involved. In dogs, bacterial bronchopneumonia is the most common cause, but various other causative agents exist.

    Bacterial

    Common bacterial causes of canine pneumonia include Bordetella bronchiseptica, Pasteurells multocida, Streptococcus zooepidemicus, Kiebsiella pneumonia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, E.coli and Mycoplasma species. The majority of them do not cause contagious pneumonia. Bordetella bronchiseptica, however, is a contributing bacterium to canine kennel cough, a highly contagious condition that often spreads throughout kennels.

    Viral

    Often, canine viral infections progress to cause secondary bacterial pneumonia. Typical viral conditions that can lead to pneumonia include parainfluenza, canine adenovirus type-2, canine distemper and canine influenza.

    Fungal

    Another cause of pneumonia in dogs is fungus. Fungus enters the respiratory system through inhalation and settles in the lungs, resulting in pneumonia. Common fungal causes include Aspergillus, Blastomyces, Histoplasma, Cryptococcus and Coccidioidomycosis immitis. While these fungi can affect any breed of dog, male dogs are often at greater risk of fungal pneumonia than females. German shepherds have shown an increased occurrence of Aspergillus infection.

    Parasitic

    Lungworms (Oslerus osleri) are parasitic worms dogs contract through contaminated water or dead infected animals. The parasite enters the body and settles into the trachea and lungs, leading to airway and breathing restriction. Complications from a lungworm infection can lead to bronchitis, emphysema and pneumonia.

    Aspiration and Antigens

    Aspiration pneumonia occurs when foreign matter, such as vomit, enters the lungs and causes inflammation. This often occurs as the result of pharynx abnormalities or neuromuscular disorders. Another possible cause of canine pneumonia depends on the dog’s environment. Eosinophilic pneumonia occurs when a foreign antigen enters the body, triggering an overactive immune response. This typically occurs in dusty or moldy environments, or areas with elevated air pollution. Pollen allergies can also cause this type of immune response and subsequent pneumonia.

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    About the Author

    Deborah Lundin is a professional writer with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and as a small business owner. She studied medical science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Her passions and interests include fitness, health, healthy eating, children and pets.

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