If your dog's cough is non-productive and dry, they might have Kennel Cough. In this blog, our Kinston vets explain what kennel cough is, what makes it so infectious as well as how it can be treated.
What is Kennel Cough?
Kennel cough also called Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis is a respiratory disease that is often seen in dogs. Kennel cough is generally caused by the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria and canine parainfluenza virus which attacks the lining of a dog's respiratory tract and causes inflammation and irritation of their airway. Even this illness isn't serious for the majority of otherwise healthy dogs, it can still cause more serious secondary infections in senior dogs, young puppies, or dogs that have a weakened immune system.
The name kennel cough stems from the highly contagious character of this illness, which allows it to rapidly spread in areas where pets come into close contact with each other such as multi-dog homes, dog parks, and kennels. Kennel cough is spread when dogs come in contact with the droplets released through the cough of an infected dog. This could occur as a result of being in direct contact with the infected dog or coming in contact with items that have infected droplets on them such as bowls, toys, blankets, or cages.
Signs and Symptoms of Kennel Cough in Dogs
The most common symptom of kennel cough is a non-productive persistent dry cough that may sound kind of like a goose honk or as if your pooch has something caught in their throat. Other signs of dog kennel cough are sneezing, runny nose, decreased appettite, lack of energy, and a mild fever.
If your pup is showing any of the symptoms or signs of kennel cough, keep them away from other dogs and call your vet immedietly for advice.
Because of the extremely contagious nature of the condition, if your dog is overall healthy, and showing mild symptoms, your vet may recommend simply isolating your pet from other dogs and letting your pup rest for several days as you keep an eye on their symptoms.
However, if your pup's symptoms are more severe your vet might recommend taking your pet in for an examination.
Diagnosing Kennel Cough
Diagnosing kennel cough is essentially a process of elimination. There are other more serious conditions that have the symptoms of kennel cough, so your vet will examine your pup for signs of collapsing trachea, heartworm disease, bronchitis, asthma, cancer, heart disease, and more. Coughing could also be a symptom of the canine distemper virus or canine influenza virus.
Depending on the results of your dog's examination and medical history your vet will determine whether kennel cough is the most probable cause of your companion's symptoms.
How to Treat Kennel Cough in Dogs
In otherwise healthy adult dogs kennel cough can be easy to treat. Your vet may decide that no medications are required and that the best treatment for your dog is rest while the infection runs its course (much like the 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. 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 From Kennel Cough
If your dog regularly spends time with other dogs ask your vet about vaccinating your pet against kennel cough. While this vaccine may help to prevent kennel cough it is not a 100% prevention since kennel cough can be caused by a number of different pathogens.
Three forms of the vaccine are available injection, nasal mist, and oral medication. If the kennel cough vaccine is recommended for your pet, your veterinarian will choose the most appropriate form.
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.