If your dog is suffering from a non-productive dry cough they may have Kennel Cough. Today our Stuart vets explain what kennel cough is as well as its symptoms and how you can help your beloved dog.
What is Kennel Cough?
Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, also called kennel cough, is a respiratory disease that's often seen in dogs. Typically, kennel cough is caused by the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria and canine parainfluenza virus that attacks the lining of a dog's respiratory tract and causes irritation and inflammation in their upper airway. For most healthy dogs this condition isn't serious although, it can result in more serious secondary infections in senior pups, young puppies, and dogs that have a weakened immune system.
This condition is called kennel cough because of the highly contagious nature that allows it to quickly spread in places where pets come into close contact with each other like in dog parks, multi-dog households, and kennels. Kennel cough spreads when a dog comes into contact with the droplets released when an infected dog coughs. This could occur through direct contact with the infected dog or by coming into contact with objects that the infected droplets have landed on including blankets, cages, bowls, and toys.
The Symptoms of Kennel Cough 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 signs of kennel cough in dogs can include runny nose, sneezing, lack of energy, decreased appetite, and mild fever.
If your pup is exhibiting signs of kennel cough keep them separated from other dogs and call your vet immediately for advice.
Because this condition is incredibly contagious, if your pooch is otherwise healthy, and showing mild symptoms, your vet might recommend just keeping them isolated from other dogs and giving your pup a few days to rest as you monitor their symptoms.
On the other hand, if your pup's symptoms are more severe your vet may recommend bringing your pet in for an examination.
Diagnosing Your Pup's Kennel Cough
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 or canine influenza 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.
Treat Kennel Cough in Dogs
In adult dogs that are otherwise healthy, kennel cough should be fairly easy to treat. Your vet might determine that no medications are needed and that the best treatment for them is rest while the infection runs its course (similar to a human cold).
If your dog is suffering from symptoms that are more serious your vet may prescribe antibiotics to help keep secondary infections from developing or cough suppressants to give your pooch 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.
How to Prevent Kennel Cough in Dogs
If your pup spends time with other dogs talk to your vet about having your pet vaccinated against kennel cough. While this vaccine can help prevent kennel cough it doesn't provide 100% prevention since kennel cough can be caused by a handful of different pathogens.
There are three forms of the vaccine available including 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.