We recently lost our Deerhound bitch to pneumonia after an illness lasting 9 months. This is an attempt to document the symptoms for the benefit of others.
We had a Wolfhound cross for 11 years and then Deerhounds for the next 28 years. We have used the same veterinary practice for the last 38 years and I have every confidence in them. During the illness she was examined by the vet who was her regular vet and who has looked after our deerhounds for many years plus 5 other vets in the practice examined her in an attempt to diagnose the illness. Their level of experience varied from 20 years to recently qualified. So a good spread of knowledge was available to us.

Until the operation to spay our dog there was no previous history of breathing difficulties.
Where I use the term gagging it was a coughing action almost like a cat trying to bring up a furball This occurred 2 or 3 times an hour.
The dog’s normal temperature was 38.2.
If the attack was bad then the dog would want to stand with the neck lowered and the head level with the shoulders. This only occurred on 1 or 2 occasions.
In between the attacks of breathing problems the dog appeared fit and after running/playing the breathing & heart rate quickly returned to normal.
The time between the attacks could vary from a few days to several months.
The attacks would start without warning and could last from 2 hours to 5hours.
During the course of her illness the dog only refused her food on a few occasions and at all times her urine and motions were normal and regular.
The condition seemed to respond well to antibiotics sometimes within a matter of hours so was assumed to be a recurring bacterial respiratory condition. At no time was there any suggestion that the condition could be life threatening.

12/08/06. Collected deerhound bitch aged 4years 7months. She had previously had problems with a pregnancy and had 1 puppy by caesarian section on 16/03/05 and had afterwards contracted pyometra.
We agreed with previous owner, their vet & our vet that the best course of action was that she would be spayed when at approx the mid point between her seasons.

05/10/06. Spayed in morning collected in late afternoon & everything o.k.

07/10/06. Post op Checkup o.k.

14/10/06. Stitches removed.

First sign of Breathing difficulties.
16/10/06. 11:00 Shallow breathing, Gagging, distressed. Temperature 40.1 Vet did full examination, xrays blood tests. Nothing found. Dog put on drip all night with antibiotic.

17/10/06. Picked dog up mid day. Synulox Injection, 5 day Course of oral antibiotics (Noroclav tablets 500mg 2 daily )

20/10/06. Dog sick several times in morning. Vet 15:00. Temperature normal. Oral Antepsin suspension given.

13/11/06. 21:00 Shallow breathing, Gagging, distressed. Temperature 39.4. Phoned vet who advised monitor temp. Temperature returned to normal.

30/11/06 16:30 Shallow breathing, Gagging, Temperature normal.

01/12/06. Vet. Examined nothing found. 14 day Course of oral antibiotics (Noroclav tablets 500mg 2 daily).

26/12/06 09:30. Shallow breathing, Temperature 40.1. Vet 11:00 Temperature normal. Try different antibiotic. 7 day course of antibiotics (Marbocyl 80 mg 1 daily).

01/03/07 Occasional gagging but not breathless during March, Temperature normal.

01/04/07 Occasional gagging but not breathless during April, Temperature normal.

26/04/07 06:30. Shallow breathing, Gagging, Temp 40. Vet consulted. 21 day course of antibiotics (Marbocyl 80 mg 1 daily).

30/05/07 Occasional gagging, no temperature.

22/06/07 Occasional gagging, no temperature.

11/07/07 Occasional gagging, Temperature 39.4. Temperature normal within an hour.

13/08/07 Shallow Breathing, Temperature 39.2. 7 day course of antibiotics (Marbocyl 80 mg 1 daily) started. No food taken.

14/09/07 Eat morning meal. Temperature 40.1. Spoke to Vet. Temp starting to go down as antibiotics took effect.

15/09/07 Very subdued all day. No food taken. Temperature 38.7

16/09/07 Dog sick several times in morning. Vet 15:00. Temperature normal. Oral Antepsin suspension given. Agreed with vet that a referral to a specialist Veterinary centre was the next step and this was to be arranged for the coming week. No food taken all day.

17/09/07 In evening went for short walk and ate a light meal.

18/09/07 09:30 Went for short walk. 11:00 sudden deteriation in condition with shallow breathing & unsteady on feet. 11:45 Vet examined and for the first time could detect problem with lungs.
Temperature was normal.
Emergency appointment made at specialist.
14:30 After reading notes and examination the specialist diagnosed a case of recurring pneumonia which he had only encountered on 2 or 3 occasions previously and then in Wolfhounds. The treatment which had worked in the past was 48 hours on intravenous antibiotics followed by 6 weeks of continuous antibiotics.
16:00 We were so pleased that the illness had finally been diagnosed and we left the dog with the Vet expecting to pick her up in 48 hours.

19/09/07 00:30 Received phone call from Vet. Our dogs condition had deteriated again during the evening and despite them spending several hours trying to save her the dogs lungs were leaking into the chest cavity and there was nothing else they felt they could do. I gave them permission to not bring her round from the anesthetic.

In conclusion. The specialist thought that our vets had applied the correct antibiotics but not in sufficient quantities or for a long enough period. This particular form of pneumonia can be very difficult to detect . As we live some distance from our nearest vet the symptoms had become less severe by the time we got there. As our dog had been perfectly well up to her being spayed the most likely cause of the pneumonia would seem to be post-surgical aspiration pneumonia. A search on the internet should find you information on this. Pneumonia in Wolfhounds will also return several useful sites.