MSD Manual

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Pet Owner Version

Pulmonary Edema in Dogs


Ned F. Kuehn

, DVM, MS, DACVIM, Michigan Veterinary Specialists

Reviewed/Revised Jun 2018 | Modified Oct 2022

Pulmonary edema, the abnormal accumulation of fluid in the tissue, airways, or air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs, may occur along with circulatory disorders or in some allergic reactions or infectious diseases. Head trauma can cause pulmonary edema in dogs. Labored breathing, with an increased rate, and open-mouth breathing may occur. Animals stand or sit rather than lie down, or lie only on their breast bone. The veterinarian may be able to hear crackling noises, normal sounds, or a complete lack of breathing sounds in the chest. Oxygen supplementation can provide short-term relief, but treatment of the primary cause is also necessary. Medications called diuretics are typically used to remove excessive fluid from the lungs.

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