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Pulmonary Edema in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations and costs!

When any “kind” of edema occurs, the tissue matter between your dog’s blood vessels fills up with yucky fluids that are doing damage.  When the term Pulmonary is added, it refers to the fact that this is happening in the lungs. And unfortunately, this is a potentially fatal condition that can degenerate your dog’s overall health over time and cause it to die if it does not receive the medical care needed.

This is why…

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

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

Pulmonary Edema is an Edema that occurs in the lungs of your pet. There tend to be three types of this disease, which we will look at directly.  Now it’s essential to understand that while there may be three “types” of pulmonary edema, all three will center around the oncotic pressure of cells to draw fluids like plasma towards them.

This oncotic pressure…

It 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.

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, your pet has been suffering for a while before a diagnosis can be made.

The second variant…

This condition is Neurogenic Pulmonary Edema. In this version, the edema happens after trauma to the central nervous system. Although this is considered rare, it is widely speculated that it is underdiagnosed. Some things that might cause this are trauma or injury, seizures, or electrocution.

The third occurrence…

This condition is known clinically as Post obstructive Pulmonary Edema. This type comes on quickly and is caused by a sudden and acute airway obstruction resulting in heart failure. You can do very little as you need more time to get to a vet. Pet CPR is real and worth looking into as a prepared pet owner, particularly if your dog has any family history of 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 immediately.

Most Commonly 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, they are likely to be prone to this condition; likewise, if they suffer from Edema in other parts of the body, 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 seem to be no defining characteristics that make a dog sure to catch this disease, 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.

This brings us to…

Were we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals.  We are all a bunch of folks 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), you will want to have them checked out by a vet ASAP!


An early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering them, 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, 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 take chest X-rays to show the damage’s extent. Likely, they will then treat the problem in three steps.


They will tranquilize the patient to calm the poor pup down. They will prescribe diuretics or other medications aimed at relieving the fluids. Lastly, they will find and treat the underlying cause, usually once the chest X-ray has given them more information on the reason. This condition is fatal without treatment, and recurrence rates aren’t high.


You’ll want to go to the vet as soon as you see any of the clinical signs listed above, and don’t hesitate!  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 suitable 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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