Pneumonia in DogsClearing the Dog's AirwayCoupage For Dogs
When puppies or dogs develop pneumonia, antibiotics are commonly used as part of treatment, but coupage for dog pneumonia may be necessary as well. Pneumonia in dogs is a serious condition that causes dogs to become very ill and coupage can play an important role in helping dogs recover. If your vet instructs you to perform coupage on your dog, make sure you understand exactly how to do it. Correct implementation is fundamental in getting the dog to expel excess secretions from the airway, and therefore, feel better. Following is some information about coupage for dog pneumonia.
In order to understand how coupage for dog pneumonia works, it helps to first better understand pneumonia in dogs and the impact this illness can have on dogs. Pneumonia is a bacterial infection of the lungs and it can life threatening, especially in younger dogs.
Affected puppies or dogs may run a fever, cough, become weakened, lose their appetite and have trouble breathing. If you suspect pneumonia in your puppy or dog, see your vet at once. Your vet will listen to your dog’s breathing and an x-ray can readily show clouded areas in the lungs which is diagnostic for pneumonia.
How do dogs get pneumonia? It can result from bacteria, viruses, parasites or from aspiration of some foreign object into the lungs such as food and liquids.
When dogs develop pneumonia, one very important key factor to recovery is clearing the excess secretions from the airway. Too much pus may prevent antibiotics from penetrating the infection making them less effective. This is where coupage for dog pneumonia comes into play.
Coughing and clearing the airway is fundamental when it comes to recovery from pneumonia. It's therefore important that the secretions are kept fluid so that they are easier to expel. Ensuring that the dog or puppy is well hydrated is fundamental, considering that 90 percent of mucus is made of water. Intravenous fluid therapy is therefore fundamental.
You do not want to suppress coughing in dogs with pneumonia, because coughing is the primary way dogs can get rid of the excess secretions. Productive coughing should therefore be encouraged and your vet may prescribe mucolitics, medications that thin mucus, making the secretions less thick and easier to expel.
Once the secretions are moist, it is time for the dog's cough reflex to take over. Dogs can be stimulated to cough through mild exercise and therefore affected dogs should be prevented from lying down in one place for extended periods of time.
How much exercise affected dogs need may vary and in some cases all that's needed is to turn the dog from lying from one side to the other side while others may benefit from standing and taking a few steps. Ask your vet for specific recommendations. And then, coughing can also be encouraged through coupage.
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Coupage means using a cupped hand to thump the dog's chest wall so to dislodge any trapped mucus and stimulate the cough reflex. Also known as percussion therapy, because of the thumping sound produced when thumping the dog's chest wall (think of a galloping horse), coupage is a procedure that should be done several times a day in particular with dogs who are not being mobile.
When coupage is performed correctly, the secretion therefore gets to move from the dog's smaller airways to the larger ones. With the correct application of coupage, dogs may therefore cough up mucus and start finally feeling better as the airways begin to clear allowing them to breath better.
For maximum benefit, coupage should be performed after nebulization, a form of therapy that consists of using a nebulizer to emit vapor-containing medications such as mucolitics. It's important to avoid feeding the dog before using a nebulizer so to prevent aspiration.
How to Perform Coupage
To perform coupage for dog pneumonia, you may wish to keep your small dog on a table or raised platform so that the procedure is easier to perform. For medium to larger dogs, you may have them standing while you stand over them straddling them like a horse. With your dog standing, firmly tap the chest rapidly on both sides for about 5 times each side, suggests veterinarian Dr. Fiona.
If you own a large dog, you will need to use both hands, while with smaller dogs, just one hand will suffix. Proper hand placement is important so make sure to have your vet do a demo for you so that you can implement the proper technique. Below is a dog coupage video demonstration by The Morris Hospital.
Coupage should not be performed on dogs with an injury to the chest wall such as from fractured ribs, wounds or trauma. Avoid coupage as well in dogs with cardiovascular problems or dogs undergoing respiratory distress. And of course, avoid coupage for dog pneumonia in dogs who are already coughing!
"Coupage should not be performed in dogs or cats that are coughing frequently for two reasons: coupage will cause them to cough more, and the natural action of already helps expel secretions spontaneously." ~Dr. Etienne Cote
Video of Dog Coupage
- Clinical Veterinary Advisor - E-Book: Dogs and Cats, By Etienne Cote