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What is Kennel Cough in Dogs? Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

What is Kennel Cough in Dogs? Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

If your dog visits social settings such as the groomers or kennel often then you know that they can easily pick up illnesses like kennel cough from other dogs at the facility. In this blog, our Charlotte vets talk about the spread of kennel cough, what the symptoms are and how it can be treated and prevented.

Kennel Cough in Dogs: What is it?

Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, commonly referred to as kennel cough, is a respiratory disease that is often found in dogs. Usually, kennel cough is caused by the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica and the canine parainfluenza virus that attacks the lining of a dog's respiratory tract resulting in irritation and inflammation. For otherwise healthy dogs, this condition generally isn't serious, however, it can cause more serious secondary infections in geriatric dogs, young puppies, or dogs that have a weakened immune system.

This illness gets its name due to the fact that it is highly contagious and frequently gets spread in social settings such as the dog kennel. When an infected dog coughs they spread the illness via tiny droplets that fly through the air and can sit on objects until another dog inhales or ingests them. 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.

What are the symptoms of kennel cough in dogs?

The most common symptom of kennel cough is a cough that sounds a little like a goose or that your dog has something stuck in their throat. Other symptoms of kennel cough in dogs could include a lack of energy, a mild fever, sneezing, a runny nose, and a lack of appetite.

Any dogs showing the symptoms of kennel cough should be isolated and you should call your vet to determine the next steps.

This condition is incredibly contagious. If your pooch is otherwise healthy and only exhibiting mild symptoms, your vet may suggest keeping them isolated from other pets and providing your pet with several days' rest as you keep an eye on their symptoms.

Although, if your dog has more severe symptoms your vet might ask you to bring them into the office so they can be examined.

How will your dog be diagnosed if they have kennel cough?

Kennel cough does not have a specific test to diagnose the condition, instead, they will use the process of elimination. Several more serious conditions 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 or canine influenza virus.

Your vet will use the lifestyle of your dog along with their current symptoms to determine if kennel cough might be the culprit.

What are the treatment options for kennel cough in dogs?

If your dog is a healthy adult then they will likely be instructed to keep your dog comfortable and isolated and allow the illness to run its course.

Are your dog's symptoms more severe? Your veterinarian might prescribe antibiotics to help prevent secondary infections or cough suppressants to give your pooch a bit of relief from the continuous coughing.

As your dog recovers, it's best to avoid the use of neck collars and use a body harness instead when you are taking them for walks. You might also want to run a humidifier in rooms where your dog spends most of their time because it could help alleviate their symptoms.

It generally takes one or two weeks for dogs to recover from kennel cough. If your canine companion's symptoms continue for longer than this it's essential to schedule a follow-up appointment with your vet. Sometimes, kennel cough can result in pneumonia.

Is it possible to prevent dogs from contracting kennel cough?

If you bring frequently bring your dog to places they will socialize such as the park, kennel or groomers then you should consider having them vaccinated against kennel cough. The kennel cough vaccine is commonly known as the Bordetella vaccination. While this vaccine could help prevent kennel cough it doesn't offer 100% prevention because kennel cough could be caused by various 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 pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.

Is your dog showing the symptoms of kennel cough? Contact our Charlotte vets to schedule an appointment today.

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