Signs of Aspiration Pneumonia (AP):
Many dogs only show one of the signs – for instance, they don’t cough or have a temp, but they’re off their food. Often, when we suspect something is not quite right with our pups we are correct… trust your gut instincts. It’s interesting that many of these dogs have NORMAL temperatures, and, in fact, normal blood counts (not all, obviously). And, most “sound” okay when the dvm listens w/ a stethoscope. The ONLY way to definitely tell is with x-rays (3 views ideal)- not just listening to the lungs which may sound clear – and you need to see a vet immediately if you suspect AP. Additionally, to make the dvm’s job a little harder, the x-ray changes may not show up for 1-3 days after the dog gets sick. So, it takes a pretty astute owner and dvm to pick up early AP. “A big WARNING, here, increased regurg can also be the first sign of aspiration pneumonia, so, 3 chest x-rays, and a dvm examination, would be a very good plan.

Important to know:
–   Every ME dog seems to exhibit slightly different symptoms
–   Only one of these symptoms could be present
–   AP may be present before shown on X-rays
–   Can aspirate on food and/or water

Signs of aspiration pneumonia:
–   Lethargy
–   Elevated temperature (fever)
–   Cough
–   Heavy or labored breathing (sometimes no coughing)
–   Little or no appetite
–   Trembling
–   Yawning excessively
–   Lip smacking
–   Refusal to eat
–   Excessive drooling
–   Mucous coming from nose
–   Sneezing noise
–   Bringing up white foam
–   Chest congestion
–   Runny nose
–  Excessive regurgitation
–  Just seems “off” and doesn’t act like normal self

With ME dogs you want to hit the AP hard and fast! Not only DON’T wait until the next day; don’t wait at all. Take them to an ER, if necessary.

Dr. Kathy
Redford, MI