Calcium Buildup in Lungs in Dogs

Calcification is the calcium build up in soft tissue and ossification is the calcium build up in the connective tissues, such as cartilage, are turned to bone or bone-like tissue. Pulmonary mineralization is characterized by both calcification and ossification of the lungs.

This condition is generally seen in older dogs and it may be generalized or localized. If the mineralization is discrete, meaning that it in only one place, individual mineral deposits can be identified but if mineralization is diffuse it will spread out to more than one location and it would be difficult to identify the individual deposits.

Dogs with pulmonary mineralization may display no symptoms at all; however, some signs or symptoms that may be observed include cyanosis, coughing, shortness of breath, high respiratory rate, abnormal breathing sounds and exercise intolerance. 

Calcification can be dystrophic or degenerative occurring secondary to tissue degeneration or inflammation, or it can be metastatic which occurs secondary to metabolic disease affecting the breakdown of food and its transformation into energy.

Calcification may also be a normal part of the aging process, or with particular breeds like premature calcification of the tracheal and bronchial cartilages in chondrodystrophic breeds. Calcification is often associated with a wound and therefore most focal calcifications are functionally unimportant.

Ossification or the heterotopic bone formation is the abnormal formation of true bone within extraskeletal soft tissues and can take different forms like calcification of a bony matrix and pulmonary ossification in the form of small, multiple nodules. 

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