How to treat pneumonia in doves

Just like their human owners, dogs too can become prey to viruses and bacteria. With the COVID-19 pandemic raging in the human world, let’s talk about a disease that affects the respiratory system of dogs – pneumonia.

What Is Pneumonia In Dogs?

In humans, pneumonia is an infection that affects one or both lungs. Similarly, pneumonia in dogs manifests by affecting the respiratory system including the lungs and airways of dogs. It can be a serious condition as it affects your dog’s ability to breathe normally and cause a deficiency of oxygen in the blood.

How to treat pneumonia in doves

What Can Cause Pneumonia In Dogs?

  • Bacterial

The most common cause is a viral infection of the lower respiratory tract. The most common bacteria that causes pneumonia in dogs is Bordetella bronchiseptica. This bacterium is highly contagious and can be transmitted easily to other dogs. Viruses that can damage the airways and make dogs more vulnerable to pneumonia are the Canine distemper virus, adenovirus types 1 and 2, canine influenza virus, and parainfluenza virus.

  • Foreign Materials

Another cause of pneumonia is breathing in foreign materials. This may lead to aspiration pneumonia. A common cause of aspiration pneumonia is improper administration of liquid medicines. Another common reason is a dog vomiting and then breathing in some of the vomit.

  • Fungal

Fungal pneumonia may develop if the dogs inhale spores that spread through the blood and lymph systems. The source of most fungal infections is believed to be soil-related. Diagnosis of this type of pneumonia may be made tentatively if the infected dog does not respond to antibiotics since antibiotics are not effective against fungi.

Symptoms To Look Out For

Common symptoms to watch out for whether it be viral, fungal, or aspiration pneumonia:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Nasal whistling
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • High fever
  • Runny nose
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty in doing exercises
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss

Some unusual symptoms observed in the case of aspiration pneumonia other than the common ones above are:

  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Altered mood
  • Bluish skin
  • Frequent regurgitation

Fungal pneumonia mostly develops over a long period – sudden and severe onset is rarely seen. A short, moist cough followed by thick mucous discharge from the nose is commonly seen. A definite diagnosis requires identification of fungus using lab tests, X-Ray, and blood tests.

How Severe Is Pneumonia In Dogs?

Pneumonia in dogs can be pretty serious. However, with on-time and appropriate treatment, most dogs will recover well.

Of the above types, aspiration pneumonia is the most serious as the outlook is poor despite treatment. In aspiration pneumonia, the death rate is high, and recovered dogs often develop lung abscesses.

Treatment Methods

  • Bacterial pneumonia

Antibiotic treatment is prescribed based on culture tests and sensitivity test results. Veterinarians may start off with a broad-spectrum antibiotic till the results are out and he is aware of which bacterium is causing pneumonia. Other medications may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication for fever and bronchodilators and expectorants for coughing and breathing difficulties.

  • Aspiration Pneumonia

Where a dog is known to have inhaled a foreign substance, veterinarians usually prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics without even waiting for symptoms to appear. The treatment is the same as other types of pneumonia.

  • Fungal pneumonia

Unlike other types, antibiotics are ineffective against fungi. Hence, antifungal drugs are used to treat fungal pneumonia. Identification of fungus is very important for the treatment method. Effective treatment may require several months of drug therapy.

Severe cases may require hospitalization, supplemental oxygen, intravenous antibiotics, or fluid therapy.

You should never give medications to your dog without getting a green light from your veterinarian. Even OTC drugs like ibuprofen can be harmful. Please go through your veterinarian’s instructions carefully and diligently to ensure the correct dosage. Human medications can be highly toxic for dogs, so please keep the pill bottles away from dog paws and consult a veterinarian for correct treatment.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Now that we have discussed symptoms and treatment for pneumonia, let’s move on to a critical topic – how to prevent the development of pneumonia in dogs.

  • In cases of an outbreak of canine pneumonia in your area, keep your dog completely isolated from other dogs.
  • Strengthen your dog’s immune system with a healthy diet, dietary supplements, and vaccinations.
  • Ensure your dog gets plenty of exercises to keep itself fit and fine.
  • Regularly wash your dog’s bedding, bowls, and toys to limit the spread of viruses and bacteria.

Remember to call your vet as soon as you notice any unusual factor – it can save your dog’s life.

Pneumonia

Even if You are Healthy . . .

. . . being 65 or older could put you at increased risk for pneumococcal pneumonia.

Pneumonia is an infection that inflames your lungs’ air sacs (alveoli). The air sacs may fill up with fluid or pus, causing symptoms such as a cough, fever, chills and trouble breathing.

What Are the Symptoms of Pneumonia?

Pneumonia symptoms can vary from so mild you barely notice them, to so severe that hospitalization is required. How your body responds to pneumonia depends on the type germ causing the infection, your age and your overall health.

The signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include:

  • Cough, which may produce greenish, yellow or even bloody mucus
  • Fever, sweating and shaking chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Sharp or stabbing chest pain that gets worse when you breathe deeply or cough
  • Loss of appetite, low energy, and fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting, especially in small children
  • Confusion, especially in older people

Questions about your symptoms?

Bacterial pneumonia, which is the most common form, tends to be more serious than other types of pneumonia, with symptoms that require medical care. The symptoms of bacterial pneumonia can develop gradually or suddenly. Fever may rise as high as a dangerous 105 degrees F, with profuse sweating and rapidly increased breathing and pulse rate. Lips and nailbeds may have a bluish color due to lack of oxygen in the blood. A patient’s mental state may be confused or delirious.

The symptoms of viral pneumonia usually develop over a period of several days. Early symptoms are similar to influenza symptoms: fever, a dry cough, headache, muscle pain, and weakness. Within a day or two, the symptoms typically get worse, with increasing cough, shortness of breath and muscle pain. There may be a high fever and there may be blueness of the lips.

Symptoms may vary in certain populations. Newborns and infants may not show any signs of the infection. Or, they may vomit, have a fever and cough, or appear restless, sick, or tired and without energy. Older adults and people who have serious illnesses or weak immune systems may have fewer and milder symptoms. They may even have a lower than normal temperature. Older adults who have pneumonia sometimes have sudden changes in mental awareness. For individuals that already have a chronic lung disease, those symptoms may worsen.

When to call a doctor

If you think you or your child has symptoms of pneumonia, don’t wait for the disease to get even worse before you seek care. Call your doctor. And see your doctor right away if you have difficulty breathing, develop a bluish color in your lips and fingertips, have chest pain, a high fever, or a cough with mucus that is severe or is getting worse.

It’s especially important to get medical attention for pneumonia if you are in a high-risk group, including adults older than age 65, children age two or younger, people with an underlying health condition or weakened immune system. For some of these vulnerable individuals, pneumonia can quickly become a life-threatening condition.

How Is Pneumonia Diagnosed?

Sometimes pneumonia can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are so variable, and are often very similar to those seen in a cold or influenza. To diagnose pneumonia, and to try to identify the germ that is causing the illness, your doctor will ask questions about your medical history, do a physical exam, and run some tests.

Medical history

Your doctor will ask you questions about your signs and symptoms, and how and when they began. To help figure out if your infection is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, you may be asked some questions about possible exposures, such as:

  • Any recent travel
  • Your occupation
  • Contact with animals
  • Exposure to other sick people at home, work or school
  • Whether you have recently had another illness

Physical exam

Your doctor will listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. If you have pneumonia, your lungs may make crackling, bubbling, and rumbling sounds when you inhale.

Diagnostic Tests

If your doctor suspects you may have pneumonia, they will probably recommend some tests to confirm the diagnosis and learn more about your infection. These may include:

  • Blood tests to confirm the infection and to try to identify the germ that is causing your illness.
  • Chest X-ray to look for the location and extent of inflammation in your lungs.
  • Pulse oximetry to measure the oxygen level in your blood. Pneumonia can prevent your lungs from moving enough oxygen into your bloodstream.
  • Sputum test on a sample of mucus (sputum) taken after a deep cough, to look for the source of the infection.

If you are considered a high-risk patient because of your age and overall health, or if you are hospitalized, the doctors may want to do some additional tests, including:

  • CT scan of the chest to get a better view of the lungs and look for abscesses or other complications.
  • Arterial blood gas test, to measure the amount of oxygen in a blood sample taken from an artery, usually in your wrist. This is more accurate than the simpler pulse oximetry.
  • Pleural fluid culture, which removes a small amount of fluid from around tissues that surround the lung, to analyze and identify bacteria causing the pneumonia.
  • Bronchoscopy, a procedure used to look into the lungs’ airways. If you are hospitalized and your treatment is not working well, doctors may want to see whether something else is affecting your airways, such as a blockage. They may also take fluid samples or a biopsy of lung tissue.

In young dogs, viral infection can predispose the lungs to bacterial invasion, and true pneumonia results. “Kennel cough” is the name given to a syndrome caused by viruses and bacteria. It usually results in mild symptoms, mild or no pneumonia, and it resolves within 5 to 7 days. Severe symptoms in combination with poor appetite could indicate pneumonia, or inflammation and consolidation of the lung tissue, a complication of kennel cough. This disease can be difficult to distinguish from pneumonia associated with canine distemper virus, which can attack the nervous system after causing respiratory signs. Young animals can also develop pneumonia because of an abnormal immune system or an inability to respond to an infection. Specific diagnostic tests can be required in these instances.

Symptoms of bacterial pneumonia in dogs and cats may include a moist or productive cough, rapid respiratory (breathing) rate, nasal discharge, loud breathing sounds, malaise/depression, loss of appetite, and/or weight loss. These signs of illness and the presence of a moist cough for more than 2 or 3 days should prompt consultation with your veterinarian. Young animals in particular can become dehydrated easily because of a combination of fever and lack of water intake.

A complete blood count (CBC) is used to evaluate the body’s response to infection by assessing the numbers and types of white cells present. The total number of white cells is usually increased in a dog or cat with pneumonia. Increased neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) are exposed when bacteria are the cause of pneumonia. Parasites or a hypersensitivity response can cause an increase in eosinophils (a type of white blood cell) and fungal infection usually results in increases in both neutrophils and monocytes (another white blood cell).

Your veterinarian may also elect to perform a blood chemical profile and urinalysis to make sure that the liver and kidneys are functioning properly prior to therapy.

Chest x-rays are always recommended when pneumonia is suspected. The x-ray pattern helps determine the most likely cause of pneumonia and also assesses the severity of the disease. Depending on the changes that are seen on x-ray and your animal’s general health, your veterinarian may recommend light sedation or anesthesia to obtain samples from the airway for culture and analysis. Airway sampling through a tracheal wash or bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage may be offered.

Most animals with pneumonia usually require initial treatment in the hospital. This is particularly true when your pet is dehydrated or requires oxygen therapy because supportive care is important in aiding resolution of pneumonia. In addition to these treatments, animals often receive “nebulization” and “coupage” therapy to remove excessive secretions from the lung and improve breathing. This type of therapy is achieved by supplying moisture-laden air to your dog or cat in a closed environment and then lightly tapping the chest with a cupped hand to loosen mucus. Sometimes this therapy is also required when animals are discharged from the hospital. Ultrasonic nebulizers can be purchased for home use from a hospital supply company or respiratory therapy unit.

Because the mechanical removal of mucus and infectious organisms is so important in animals with pneumonia, cough suppressants should not be used early in the course of disease because infectious secretions can become trapped in the airways and worsen pneumonia.

Bacterial pneumonia requires treatment with specific antibiotics that are directed against the organisms isolated from the lung. In severe cases, intravenous (IV) antibiotics are used, which then can be changed to oral medications once the animal’s clinical condition is improved. All antibiotics prescribed must be administered to your pet for the full course of treatment. Before stopping any medications, please consult with your veterinarian. Any medication used to treat pneumonia can be associated with side effects such as loss of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea.

How to treat pneumonia in doves

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Pneumonia in dogs is a condition that affects the respiratory system, including the lungs and airways that allow dogs to breathe. This results in several symptoms that usually disappear with proper treatment, though if it’s not treated, it can lead to serious complications in dogs, including hypoxemia and sepsis.

Bacterial pneumonia refers to inflammation in the lungs caused by a bacterial infection, while aspiration pneumonia refers to inflammation caused by inhaling foreign substances, including vomit and regurgitated food or fluid. Pneumonia also has many other possible causes.

If you see the signs in your dog, then you must seek veterinary treatment. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for pneumonia in dogs.

Symptoms Of Pneumonia In Dogs

How to treat pneumonia in doves

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Symptoms of pneumonia in dogs will generally appear in the respiratory system, including the lungs, throat, trachea, windpipe, nose, sinuses, and smaller airways known as bronchi and bronchioles.

Here are a few symptoms you might expect to see with bacterial pneumonia:

  • Coughing
  • High fever
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty exercising
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal whistling or wheezing
  • Irregular breathing
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss or anorexia

Aspiration pneumonia has many of the same symptoms, but might also be accompanied by difficulty swallowing, bluish skin, altered mood, and frequent regurgitation.

Causes Of Pneumonia In Dogs

How to treat pneumonia in doves

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Most cases of pneumonia in dogs are bacterial. The most common bacteria that cause the illness are Bordetella bronchiseptica, E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Mycoplasma, Pasteurella multocida, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Streptococcus zooepidemicus.

Some of these bacteria, like Bordatella bronchiseptica, are contagious, especially to dogs with compromised immune systems. Most of them, however, are not highly contagious.

Aspiration pneumonia can be caused by abnormalities in the pharynx, as well as neuromuscular disorders that affect the ability of muscles in the respiratory system to function properly. Enlargement of the lower esophagus due to regurgitation can also lead to aspiration pneumonia.

Acid reflux is a known cause of frequent regurgitation. Rarely, an incorrectly placed feeding tube can cause aspiration pneumonia, as well.

Other causes of pneumonia include injury to the respiratory system, irritants, or other sources of infection. Irritants include inhaled toxins like secondhand smoke or environmental pollutants. These produce the inflammatory response associated with the condition.

Metabolic disorders, viral infections, tumors, cleft palate, and conditions that cause difficulty swallowing or regurgitation can all lead to pneumonia in dogs.

Treatments For Pneumonia In Dogs

How to treat pneumonia in doves

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Treatment for pneumonia in dogs depends on the cause. For instance, veterinarians will likely treat bacterial infections with antibiotics. They may also prescribe medications to prevent new infections from occurring.

Usually the antibiotic regimen will last three to four weeks and may continue for a while after the infection disappears.

In the case of aspiration pneumonia, the vet may attempt to remove the foreign material from the lungs that’s causing the problem. They can do this through suction or other means.

Vets may give oxygen to dogs in cases of severe problems, as well as intravenous fluids to dogs who are suffering from dehydration. Some dogs may also benefit from a humidifier to keep the air moist as they recover with plenty of bed rest.

Other cases of pneumonia are treated as needed based on cause. In some cases, vets may need to remove damaged lung tissue surgically.

Infections from viruses, fungi, or parasites will be treated with different medication. Vets should treat underlying causes like acid reflux, as well, to prevent further inflammation.

Most dogs who receive treatment make a full recovery; however, exposure to pneumonia often makes it likely that the condition will reoccur. This is especially true if the vet can’t determine underlying cause of the initial inflammation. Make sure you follow treatment procedures from your vet thoroughly to reduce this risk.

Has your dog ever had pneumonia? How did your vet treat it? Let us know in the comments below!

Krystina is a Technical Writer with a background in healthcare. She has spent the last 10 years working for an internationally recognized medical facility where she found her passion for making complicated topics easier to understand.

Isaac O. Opole, MD, PhD, is a board-certified internist specializing in geriatric medicine. For over 15 years, he’s practiced at the Kansas University Medical Center, where he is also a professor.

Recovering from pneumonia sometimes feels like it will take a lifetime to bounce back. When coming down with a “normal” cough or cold, we tend to feel better in a week or two. However, pneumonia is more intense, and symptoms can still be noticeable for up to three months from when you first felt sick.

Many factors affect the length of recovery from pneumonia, including:

  • How old you are
  • What type of pneumonia you are fighting
  • How you care for yourself during this time
  • Your overall health before pneumonia

It’s no secret that those who are young and typically healthy can recover from an illness faster than those older or troubled by underlying health conditions.

While there is no exact timeframe to recovery, you can expect to feel the effects of pneumonia anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

Learn more about the path to recovery from pneumonia.

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Treatment

Pneumonia can be treated from home. The best thing to do is to fill and start your prescribed medication immediately.

Not all forms of pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics, but those who can treat themselves from home with antibiotics can expect to take them for about five to seven days. Some people may be given a shorter or longer medication regimen; it all depends on what your doctor thinks is suitable for your particular case.

Continue the Full Course of Antibiotic Treatment

Most people start to feel better about two days after starting antibiotics, but it’s key to continue taking your medication until the prescription is complete, unless your doctor advises otherwise.

Timeline for Recovery

While everyone’s recovery from pneumonia varies, you’ll likely be feeling better within a few days of starting treatment with antibiotics.

Here is an example of a timeline for recovery from pneumonia:

  • Within seven days: Your temperature returns to normal.
  • One month: You’ll be producing less mucus, and your chest will feel better.
  • Six weeks: It’s becoming easier to breathe, and your cough is resolving.
  • Three months: While you may still feel tired, most of the other symptoms will be gone at this point.
  • Six months: You should be back to normal.

What to Expect by Age and Health

Here is how age can affect your recovery from pneumonia:

  • Infants under the age of 6 months are typically hospitalized for pneumonia out of an abundance of caution.
  • Children over the age of 6 months are more likely to be treated at home, provided they are typically healthy.
  • Older adults may take longer to bounce back from pneumonia since our immune system naturally weakens the older we get, especially if you have a preexisting health condition. It’s also more common for the elderly and chronically ill to be hospitalized for pneumonia since the rate of complications and mortality increases for those over the age of 65.

Why Does Recovery Take So Long?

Almost everyone who comes down with pneumonia will ask themselves or their healthcare provider at least once, “Why does it take so long to recover from pneumonia?” After all, you felt better within a few days of starting your antibiotic or, in some cases, steroid treatment. Like everything else in medicine, there are many reasons why it takes so long to recover.

When bacteria enters your body, your body goes into defense mode to remove it. Somewhere along the line, you start your antibiotics, and in a few days, you feel better. This improvement is because the bacteria has been dealt with. However, your body is now in cleanup mode, removing all the debris—like the mucus in your lungs.

Your body starts working overtime to clear out all the “trash” left behind. Your body is using multiple mechanisms to move the mucus out of your lungs. This movement is why you experience a productive cough.

Fatigue and Pneumonia

You may also feel fatigued for several months after battling pneumonia. This fatigue comes from your body diverting as much energy as possible to the immune system until it’s positive there’s no reason to be running overtime.

Returning to Everyday Activities

Regardless of whether you could treat your pneumonia at home or you were hospitalized for pneumonia, the best thing you can do is take care of yourself as you recover. Here are some recovery tips:

  • Stay home: Be sure you stay home until your fever breaks and your coughing is at least minimal. Staying home and resting not only improves your recovery, it also protects anyone you come into contact with from getting sick.
  • Get plenty of rest: Take naps when you need to, and hang low while recovering.
  • Drink plenty of fluids: This will help keep your body hydrated as it works to flush out your illness.
  • Complete prescription medication: Make sure to complete the full course of any antibiotics, even if you’re feeling better.
  • Pace yourself: Ease into your typical everyday life.

Pneumonia is a serious infection capable of damaging your lungs. While many people seem to recover from pneumonia fully, it’s possible your lungs will not be able to return to the same level of activity as before.

This possibility is just one reason why it’s important to slowly ramp up your activity level as you heal, and practice any breathing techniques your healthcare provider may recommend.

Complications and Relapse

Complications

If you experience any of the following scenarios, contact your healthcare provider immediately:

  • Fever and a productive cough that is not improving or is worsening
  • New shortness of breath during normal daily activities
  • Chest pain while breathing
  • Suddenly feeling worse, like you’ve caught the flu again

A Word From Verywell

Pneumonia can come back in full force as you recover. A big part of achieving full recovery is taking it slow as you return to everyday life.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help as you recover. Recovering without any help can be difficult, overwhelming, and potentially create a longer recovery. Asking someone to help can make all the difference in your recovery, both mentally and physically.

As always, if you begin to feel worse—or think you’re not improving—take time to call your primary care physician and discuss your concerns. While treatment recommendations can feel very textbook at times, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment when it comes to medicine. Sometimes, an adjustment is needed.

Affiliations

  • 1 Clinical Family Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1919 West Taylor Street, Suite 143, Chicago, IL 60612, USA. Electronic address: [email protected]
  • 2 Department of Family Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1919 West Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.
  • PMID: 30115336
  • PMCID: PMC7112285
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.pop.2018.04.001

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Authors

Affiliations

  • 1 Clinical Family Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1919 West Taylor Street, Suite 143, Chicago, IL 60612, USA. Electronic address: [email protected]
  • 2 Department of Family Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1919 West Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.
  • PMID: 30115336
  • PMCID: PMC7112285
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.pop.2018.04.001

Abstract

Pneumonia is a common cause of respiratory infection, accounting for more than 800,000 hospitalizations in the United States annually. Presenting symptoms of pneumonia are typically cough, pleuritic chest pain, fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Children and the elderly have different presenting features of pneumonia, which include headache, nausea, abdominal pain, and absence of one or more of the prototypical symptoms. Knowledge of local bacterial pathogens and their antibiotic susceptibility and resistance profiles is the key for effective pharmacologic selection and treatment of pneumonia.

Keywords: Antibiotic resistance; Community-acquired; Microbial pathogens; Pediatric; Pneumonia; Ventilator-associated.

Histoplasmosis is a fungal infection that can affect anyone. Learning about histoplasmosis can help you stay healthy and recognize symptoms early if you do get the infection.

Histoplasmosis is caused by Histoplasma, a fungus that lives in the soil, particularly where there’s a large amount of bird or bat poop. The infection ranges from mild to life-threatening. It can be misdiagnosed because its symptoms are similar to those of other illnesses. Here are some important things to know about histoplasmosis.

Common symptoms can lead to delayed diagnosis

How to treat pneumonia in doves

Symptoms of histoplasmosis include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Body aches

These symptoms usually appear between 3 and 17 days after breathing in the fungus. Because the symptoms are similar to those of other diseases, patients can experience delays in getting correctly diagnosed and treated.

Some people can develop severe histoplasmosis. These people include people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness (or people with weakened immune systems), and people who are exposed to a large amount of the fungus. A severe infection must be treated with prescription antifungal medicine.

However, most people who breathe in the fungus that causes histoplasmosis do not have symptoms, or only have mild symptoms. Some people never know they’ve had histoplasmosis until a CT scan, X-ray, or other imaging test shows spots on their lungs. These spots can look identical to lung cancer, leading to unnecessary costs and emotional stress associated with finding the right diagnosis.

If you have symptoms and suspect that you might have histoplasmosis, ask your doctor to test you for it.

How to treat pneumonia in doves

This map shows CDC’s current estimate of where the fungi that cause histoplasmosis live in the environment in the United States. These fungi are not distributed evenly in the shaded areas, might not be present everywhere in the shaded areas, and can also be outside the shaded areas. Darker shading shows areas where Histoplasma is more likely to live. Diagonal shading shows the potential range of Histoplasma.

Estimated areas with histoplasmosis

This map shows CDC’s current estimate of where the fungi that cause histoplasmosis live in the environment in the United States. These fungi are not distributed evenly in the shaded areas, might not be present everywhere in the shaded areas, and can also be outside the shaded areas. Darker shading shows areas where Histoplasma is more likely to live. Diagonal shading shows the potential range of Histoplasma.

How it spreads: from soil to lungs

In the United States, the fungus that causes histoplasmosis mainly lives in soil in the central and eastern states, especially areas around the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys. However, it’s also present in other U.S. states, likely in small pockets that offer the right growing conditions. The fungus also lives in parts of Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. People can get histoplasmosis by breathing in the fungus from the air in these areas. Histoplasmosis does not spread from person to person.

How to stay healthy

It can be difficult to avoid breathing in the fungus that causes histoplasmosis in areas where it’s common in the environment. In those areas, people who have weakened immune systems should consider avoiding activities associated with getting histoplasmosis, such as:

  • Disturbing a large amount of bird or bat poop
  • Cleaning, remodeling, or tearing down old buildings
  • Exploring caves

Read about a histoplasmosis outbreak linked to bat poop in the Dominican Republic.

Large amounts of bird or bat poop should be cleaned up by a professional company that specializes in handling hazardous waste. A small amount of bird or bat poop on a hard surface is much less likely to spread histoplasmosis than a larger amount around soil or plants.

Before starting a job or activity where there’s a possibility of being exposed to the fungus that causes histoplasmosis, consult the document Histoplasmosis: Protecting Workers at Risk pdf icon [PDF – 39 pages] .

It’s important to know that people can also get histoplasmosis without being exposed to bird or bat poop.

Awareness is key

How to treat pneumonia in doves

Diego Caceres, a CDC microbiologist, sharing research on diagnosis and testing of histoplasmosis at the Histoplasmosis in the Americas Conference in Manaus, Brazil.

In areas where the fungus that causes histoplasmosis is common, it’s difficult to completely avoid being exposed to it. That’s why knowing about histoplasmosis is one of the most important ways to avoid delays in diagnosis and treatment.

Greater awareness about histoplasmosis is needed in the United States and around the world. In Latin America and the Caribbean, histoplasmosis is one of the most common infections among people living with HIV. There, about 1 in 3 people with HIV who get histoplasmosis die from this condition. Learn more about CDC’s work to prevent deaths due to histoplasmosis by improving diagnosis and increasing access to lifesaving antifungal medications.

Affiliations

  • 1 Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine.
  • 2 Department of Pharmacy Practice, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
  • PMID: 30640820
  • DOI: 10.1097/QCO.0000000000000526
  • Search in PubMed
  • Search in NLM Catalog
  • Add to Search

Authors

Affiliations

  • 1 Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine.
  • 2 Department of Pharmacy Practice, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
  • PMID: 30640820
  • DOI: 10.1097/QCO.0000000000000526

Abstract

Purpose of review: This review provides the rationale for the development of new antibiotics to treat community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). It also provides an overview of the new antibiotics targeting CAP that have recently received approval by the regulatory agencies, and those antibiotics that are in the development pipeline.

Recent findings: CAP is one of the most common reasons for hospitalization and carries a significant morbidity and risk of mortality. Increasing antibiotic resistance amongst the common bacterial pathogens associated with CAP, especially staphylococci and Streptococcus pneumoniae, has made the empiric treatment of this infection increasingly problematic. Moreover, failure of initial empiric therapy to cover the causative agents associated with CAP can be associated with worse clinical outcomes. There have been several antibiotics newly approved or in development for the treatment of CAP. These agents include delafloxacin, omadacycline, lefamulin, solithromycin, nemonoxacin, and ceftaroline. Their major advantages include activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and macrolide-resistant Strep. pneumoniae.

Summary: CAP continues to be an important infection because of its impact on patient outcomes especially in the elderly and immunocompromised hosts. The availability of new antibiotics offers an opportunity for enhanced empiric treatment of the antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens associated with CAP.