Pneumonia and Respiratory Concerns
Pneumonia is a serious problem in deep-chested breeds such as Irish Wolfhounds. To complicate matters, pneumonia in IWs doesn't present the same signs and symptoms as it does in many other dogs. In the early stages, your dog may act lethargic, refuse food, and be panting but have a normal temperature. Although not all IWs do this, many will hold their heads almost level with their backs, as if they were trying to straighten their tracheas to get more air in. This is a classic sign of pneumonia in IWs and requires immediate veterinary treatment. Even if initial lung xrays are clear, the dog should be treated for pneumonia, as the disease progresses rapidly in most cases and is life-threatening.
Initial treatment consists of strong antibiotics and IV fluids. Typically the dog must be kept on the antibiotics for 6-8 weeks, as these infections must be completely eradicated or the dog will relapse.
Some IWs do have recurrent pneumonias. Those dogs may have to be maintained on a low dose of antibiotics for life.
Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD)
Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD) is a disorder in which the cilia (hairs in the nose which filter out viruses) are defective. Nasal discharge, sneezing and coughing are seen in very young puppies and chronic nasal and lung problems develop. Affected dogs may need to be on antibiotics for life.
This page was last updated 03/23/2014.