Fluid in the Lungs – Pulmonary Edema
Pulmonary Edema is characterized by the buildup of fluid in the air sacks within your pups lungs. If your dog has been diagnosed with pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) it may be an indication of an underlying health condition, exposure to toxins, or trauma. Depending on the cause of your pets pumonary edema, the fluid can build up slowly over a period of time or very rapidly.
How is pulmonary edema in dogs diagnosed?
If you can hear fluid in your dog’s lungs, your vet will concentrate on identifying the underlying cause after first looking for clear signs of electrocution such as burns around the dog’s mouth (perhaps from biting an electrical cord). He or she will also examine your dog’s airway for obstructions.
In many cases, your vet will take thoracic radiographs (chest x-rays). These will show the amount of fluid in your pet’s lungs, as well as help your vet identify any foreign bodies that may be causing an obstruction. In case of cardiogenic pulmonary edema, it will show signs of an enlarged heart.
Tests can be done on the fluid within your dog’s lungs, which may help to determine whether your dog’s protein levels are abnormally high or low. High levels of protein indicate noncardiogenic causes of fluid buildup, while low levels of protein point to cardiogenic pulmonary edema.
Noncardiogenic Pulmonary Edema
Noncardiogenic pulmonary edema, not surprisingly, means edema caused by underlying conditions other than heart-related. In these types of pulmonary edema, it isnt high pressure within the capillaries that causes fluid to leak, its an alteration in the normal permeability of the blood vessels that allows the fluid to leak out and fill up the alveoli.
There are quite a few noncardiogenic causes of pulmonary edema, although pneumonia is the most common. Other causes include cancer, not enough protein in the blood, anemia, near-drowning, electrocution, snake venom, smoke inhalation, airway obstruction, and heartworms. Generally, this type of pulmonary edema comes on suddenly.