In this VETgirl online veterinary CE video, we review clinical presentation and treatment for kennel cough pneumonia. While rare, kennel cough pneumonia can potentially be fatal in puppies. The most causative organism is the Gram negative, slow-growing bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica. While Bortadella is typically limited to the upper airway (e.g., hence tracheobronchitis) of adult dogs, young, immunosuppressed puppies may develop more severe lower airway disease from community acquired infections. Clinical signs include tachypnea, dyspnea, purulent nasal discharge, fever, lethargy, dehydration, cough, and generalized malaise. Radiographic findings are typically consistent with a mixed alveolar pattern in multiple lung lobes. Treatment includes intravenous fluid therapy, nebulization and coupage, antibiotic therapy (aimed at Gram negative organisms, if suspicious), nutritional support, and oxygen therapy. Clinically, VetGirl sees it more in English bulldog puppies.
In a study by Radhakrishnan et al out of University of Pennsylvania, puppies diagnosed with community-acquired pneumonia secondary to Bordetalla were more likely to be purchased from a pet store (Um, huge no-no, folks!), were owned for a shorter time period, had higher PvCO2 values at initial presentation, were significantly more likely to receive supplemental oxygen, and were more likely to have a longer duration of hospitalization (mean, 7.2 vs 4.9 days) than did dogs with pneumonia caused by any organism. 88% survived to discharge with aggressive supportive care.
When in doubt, treat these guys aggressively, as they will do well!
Radhakrishnan A1, Drobatz KJ, Culp WT, King LG. Community-acquired infectious pneumonia in puppies: 65 cases (1993-2002). J Am Vet Med Assoc 2007;15;230(10):1493-7.