Does your dog have a dry non-productive cough? If so, your pup may be suffering from kennel cough. In this post, the vets at Affordable Pet Vet Clinic explain what kennel cough is and what you should do if your dog is displaying symptoms.
What is Kennel Cough in Dogs?
Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, also known as kennel cough, is a respiratory disease found in dogs. Kennel cough is a term used to describe multiple viruses or bacterial infections. Two of the most common causes are canine influenza and Bordetella. While this condition isn't serious for most healthy dogs, it can lead to more serious secondary infections in young puppies, senior dogs, or dogs with a weakened immune system from other conditions.
The name kennel cough comes from the highly contagious nature of this condition, which causes it to spread rapidly in places where pets are in close contact with each other such as kennels, dog parks, and multi-dog homes. Kennel cough is spread when dogs come in contact with the droplets released through the cough of an infected dog. This can be through direct contact with the infected dog or through contact with objects that the infected droplets have landed on such as dog toys, bowls, cages, or blankets.
Kennel Cough Symptoms in Dogs
The primary symptom of kennel cough is a non-productive persistent dry cough that can sound somewhat like a goose honk or as if your pup has something stuck in their throat. Other symptoms of kennel cough in dogs can include runny nose, sneezing, lack of energy, decreased appetite, and mild fever.
If your dog is showing signs of kennel cough keep your pet away from other dogs and contact your vet right away for advice.
If your dog is otherwise healthy, and only showing mild symptoms, your vet may recommend simply isolating your pet from other dogs and allowing your pup to rest for a few days as you monitor their symptoms.
If your dog's symptoms are more severe your vet may recommend you bring them in for treatment. They will discuss a way to safely bring your pup in without risking the health of any other dogs that may be visiting the office.
How Kennel Cough is Diagnosed
Diagnosing kennel cough is essentially a process of elimination. There are a number of more serious conditions that share the symptoms of kennel cough, as such your vet will examine your pet for signs of collapsing trachea, heartworm disease, bronchitis, asthma, cancer, heart disease, and more. Coughing can also be a sign of canine distemper virus.
Based on the results of your pet's examination and medical history your vet will determine whether kennel cough is the likely cause of your pup's symptoms.
How to Treat Kennel Cough in Dogs
As mentioned, if your dog is in good health, the only treatment necessary may be a few days of rest, much like a human cold.
If your dog is experiencing more severe symptoms your vet may prescribe antibiotics to help prevent secondary infections or cough suppressants to provide your pup with some relief from the persistent coughing.
While your pet is recovering it is a good idea to avoid using neck collars, and switch to a body harness when taking your dog for walks. Keep walks short and avoid any strenuous activity with your pup while they are healing. You may also what to use a humidifier in rooms where your dog spends time, as this can help to relieve your dog's symptoms.
Most dogs recover from kennel cough within a week or two. If your pup's symptoms persist for longer a follow-up veterinary appointment is essential. In some cases, kennel cough can lead to pneumonia.
Protecting Your Dog Against Kennel Cough
Vaccinations for Bortedella and canine influenza virus are available. Your vet will most likely recommend these if your dog spends a lot of time around other dogs.
While vaccination may help to prevent kennel cough, no vaccination is 100% effective. Your dog could also catch kennel cough caused by a different virus than the one they are vaccinated against.
Talk to your vet about the best way to protect your pet from kennel cough.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. If you are concerned about your pet's health, contact your veterinarian right away for diagnosis and treatment.