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Pulmonary Edema in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations and costs!

A Pulmonary Edema in dogs is a lung condition that is life threatening.

When any “kind” of edema occurs, this means that the tissue matter between your dog’s blood vessels is filling up with yucky fluids that are doing damage.

Now when…

The term Pulmonary is added it is a reference to the fact that this is happening in the lungs. And unfortunately, this is a potentially fatal condition that can degenerate the overall health of your dog over time and can potentially cause your dog to die if he or she does not receive the medical care that they need.

This is why…

We wanted to take a moment and discuss exactly what Pulmonary Edema in dogs is so that you might be better at recognizing some of the early symptoms of this disease and get your dog to a trained professional ASAP!

So, what is Pulmonary Edema, and why is it so harmful?

Simply put, Pulmonary Edema is basically an Edema that is occurring in the lungs of your pet. Now, there tends to be three types of this disease, which we will look at directly.

Now it’s important…

To understand that while there may be three “types” of pulmonary edema, all three will center around on the oncotic pressure of cells to draw fluids like plasma towards them.

This oncotic pressure…

Causes a buildup of hydrostatic pressure on the outside of the cells where this fluid gathers. The pulmonary capillaries (or the blood vessels in the lungs) then become blocked by this pressure, interrupting the blood flow to the mitral valve. The lung gradually loses function as this upper airway construction takes root.  As a result, this terrible condition can result in lung failure, among many other awful side effects.

Now the first…

And most common is Cardiogenic pulmonary edema. This ultimately means that the heart has become affected by the poor functioning of the lungs. It can also refer to the fact that the problem has originated in the heart rather than the lungs, but has now spread. In the latter case it means that your pet has been suffering for a while before diagnosis can be made.

The second variant…

Of this condition is Neurogenic Pulmonary Edema. In this version the edema has happened after any kind of trauma to the central nervous system. Although this is considered rare it is widely speculated that it is under diagnosed. Examples of things that might cause this are trauma or injury, seizures or electrocution.

The third occurrence…

Of this condition is known clinically as Post obstructive Pulmonary Edema. This type comes on quickly and is caused by a sudden and acute obstruction to the airways resulting in heart failure. There is very little you can do in this instance as you do not have time to get to a vet. Pet CPR is a real thing and is worth looking into as a prepared pet owner, particularly if your dog has any family history with this condition.

Clinical signs of Pulmonary Edema…

Include your dog having:

  • Difficulty breathing,
  • Coughing or choking regularly,
  • Muscle weakness,
  • Lethargy,
  • Or fainting
  • And most unusually they may have a blue tongue.

If you see any of these symptoms take your dog to the vet at once.

Affected Breeds

We cannot account for all those dogs who suffer it as a result of trauma or illness. If your dog has heart or lung problems then they are likely to be prone to this condition, likewise if they suffer from Edema in other parts of the body then there is always a chance it will spread.


This tends to be one of those conditions that will strike down any dog of any age, race, creed or color at any time in their lives. There seems to be no defining characteristics that make a dog certain to catch this disease, and so breeding it out is the only form of prevention… that and keeping your dog fit and healthy, of course… although even that is not a guarantee for an unlucky few.

Which brings us to…

Were we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who just happen to be passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you feel like your pet may have pulmonary edema (or any other health issue for that matter) the first thing that you’re going to want to do is have him or her check out by a vet ASAP!


The truth is, an early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering him or her, but beyond that diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs and potentially provide your veterinarian with many more treatment options.

Treatment options

First of all, your vet will want to complete a full physical examination of your pup. They will be looking for any signs of laryngeal Paralysis or any trace of other pressure in the lungs.

To confirm their diagnosis…

They may well take chest x-rays as these will show the extent of the damage. It is likely that they will then treat the problem in three steps.


They will tranquilize the patient to calm the poor pup down, then they will prescribe diuretics or other medications aimed at relieving the fluids, then lastly, they will find the underlying cause and treat it, usually once the chest X-ray has given them more information on what that cause might be. Without treatment this condition is entirely fatal and recurrence rates aren’t high.


You’ll definitely want to go to the vet as soon as you see any of the clinical signs listed above and don’t take the chance!

It’s also why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • JEFFREY M. February 11, 2021, 3:04 pm

    Very helpful. I noticed my female aussie having breathing issues.I got her to the vet who gave her a chest xray. The Xray showed the fluid and a large heart.Couldnt see the lungs. The vet prescribed a shot that would help lessen the fluid and cause her to pee frequently and 2 pills,one was a chewable antibiotic and the other was the pill form of the medication the vet injected her with.He told me to bring her back in 2 weeks.She has always been healthy so the onset of this fluid surprised me.I will keep my fingers crossed.

    • indulgeyourpet February 12, 2021, 12:25 am


      We’re pleased to hear that you benefited from our article and only wish you and your little one the best!



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