IW Foundation Health Library:

Pneumonia in an Irish Wolfhound

Pneumonia in Irish Wolfhounds can present differently than pneumonia in other breeds. One of the key indicators is the posture illustrated in the video above, where the dog seems to be trying to stretch out his trachea to get more air in. This is usually accompanied by heavy panting. Sometimes there is also coughing and fever, but not always. There can also be fatigue and inappetance. The disease progresses frighteningly fast and a dog can go from just fine to panting and distressed in a matter of hours.

Unfortunately, xrays are often inconclusive even though the dog is obviously very sick. The pneumonia will show on xray eventually, but waiting for that to begin treatment would be a mistake. IW pneumonia requires rapid, aggressive antibiotic therapy. Antibiotics should usually be continued several weeks after a clear xray, regardless of how quickly the dog seems to recover. Supportive care may also be required, such as oxygen and IV fluids, necessitating a stay in the emergency clinic. If caught and treated promptly, most dogs will recover from pneumonia. 

Some IWs will suffer from repeated pneumonias. A study is ongoing to see if there is a defect in the lung cilia in these dogs.

To print for future reference and to bring to your veterinarian(s):

Pneumonia Protocol and Pneumonia Article from Harp and Hound

Further Reading

Links provided here provide Irish Wolfhound-specific, sighthound, and/or general canine information relevant to Irish Wolfhounds.

Disclaimer: The Irish Wolfhound Foundation provides the information on this website for the education of its readers. No information on this website should be used for veterinary medical purposes, diagnostically, therapeutically, or otherwise. Consult a veterinarian before attempting to medically treat your dog or changing your dog's medical treatment.

Note: Links to content outside iwfoundation.org may become inactive over time.

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