The Kennel Cough in Dogs is a prevalent infectious disease that causes coughing and other upper breathing symptoms for dogs. The condition can cause severe discomfort and, in some instances, even serious complications, but it generally responds well to treatment by a veterinarian.
Here are some essential facts about kennel-cough, including how to prevent and treat the illness.
What Is Kennel Cough?
Kennel cough is also referred to as infectious tracheobronchitis, a disease that affects the throat and the airways of dogs.
Different kinds of bacteria and viruses (usually more than one pathogens in combination) can trigger kennel cough in dogs. The most common culprits are Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria viruses like canine influenza virus and canine parainfluenza virus canine adenovirus type 2, and many more.
Of all, Bordetella bronchiseptica is the most well-known. This is why the words “kennel cough” and “Bordetella” are frequently used interchangeably to refer to the illness and the vaccine that prevents it.
Is Kennel Cough in Dogs Serious?
Fortunately, kennel-cough is not considered to be a fatal illness — the majority of dogs heal completely. However, it can be painful and irritate the throat, hindering the dog’s appetite or sleep.
Sometimes, kennel cough in dogs progresses into pneumonia, which is a severe complication that may be fat. Older seniors, young puppies, or pups with weak immune systems have a greater risk of developing severe disease.
The use of veterinary care is recommended to rule out any reasons for coughing and help provide relief and speedier recovery.
Common Symptoms of Kennel Cough
- Kennel Cough in dogs can sound like a loud “honking'” or “hacking” cough. However, coughing is by far the most frequent sign. It might sound like a dog is suffering from something “stuck” in its throat and trying to clear it. When the cough worsens, a dog may slash into foam or liquid (like vomiting).
- The sensitivity of the trachea means that rubbing your hands along the dog’s windpipe could trigger an episode of coughing.
- Retching Gagging
- Sneezing or a runny nose
- Eye tearing or discharge
- A majority of dogs behave normally, with no other symptoms aside from coughing. However, dogs suffering from more severe illnesses might show unwell symptoms, including lethargy, diminished appetite, or fever.
Animals who are extremely sick or have breathing problems require immediate medical attention from a veterinarian, as they could be suffering from a serious condition.
How Is Kennel Cough Transmitted?
The bacteria and viruses (including Bordetella bronchiseptica) which cause tracheobronchitis infections are highly transmissible between dogs.
Kennel cough in dogs is carried out by drops of respiratory fluid (from sneezing or coughing and so on.). But, it may be spread via direct contact or through sharing items such as bedding, toys, and food bowls. The incubation time ranges from 2 to 14 days, which means dogs can be infected even before they begin to show signs.
Dogs that go to grooming, boarding, Day Care, Dog Parks traveling, training classes and pet events, or any other activity that puts a dog close to other dogs (which can happen even during walks) are more at risk of developing the disease because of the higher risk of exposure to Kennel Cough.
Additionally, certain circumstances -like stress, crowding, poor ventilatory conditions, low temperatures, and inhaling irritants, such as cigarettes smoke- can compromise the natural defenses against infection in dogs’ respiratory tract, which can make dogs more susceptible to infections.
Although it is less frequent than in dogs, cats may occasionally catch kennel cough. However, the human infection is very uncommon and is usually not an issue for people with a seriously compromised immune system.
How Is Kennel Cough In Dogs Diagnosed?
Infectious tracheobronchitis can be one of the numerous causes of dog coughing. Other causes of coughing are heart problems and genetic disorders that lead to narrowing of the windpipe, asthma, parasites, allergens/irritants, and other lung conditions. The reason for your cough is the determining factor in the most effective treatment.
Your vet will begin by asking you questions about the recent behavior of your dog (for example, if other dogs closely surrounded your dog in recent times) as well as conducting a complete physical examination.
In healthy dogs with no signs of kennel-cough, the symptoms and recent exposure to other dogs could be sufficient to diagnose the condition and start treatment.
In some instances, the need for diagnostic tests such as radiographs or testing for infectious diseases may be required, especially in cases of extreme symptoms or dogs who aren’t responding very well.
Fortunately, most dogs experience some relief as soon as the treatment has begun, with the full resolution occurring within about a week. However, mild symptoms may linger for several weeks.
Kennel Cough in Dogs: Treatment and Prevention
Common treatments include:
- Antibiotics. This treats common Bordetellabacteria directly. Suppose there is a viral infection. In that case, antibiotics can help to prevent secondary (opportunistic) bacteria-related infections that are very frequent and could cause the illness to get worse or even lead to pneumonia.
- Pet-safe cough suppressants, anti-inflammatories, or pain medications. This helps break the cycle of coughing and gives relief to a sore throat.
Dogs with mild symptoms can heal by themselves. However, the illness could worsen if the dog is not treated. On the other hand, careful treatment can provide your pet with much-needed relief from their sore throat or cough.
Dogs with pneumonia or severe complications could require hospitalization.
Home Remedies for Kennel Cough
Don’t give medicines at home without consulting your veterinarian first. Some medications can be harmful to pets! There are, however, some other things you can do to make your dog feel better, such as…
- Use a humidifier (no oils or medications, just humidity)
- Let your dog rest until their cough is better
- Keep plenty of drinking water readily available to avoid dehydration
- The process of switching from a collar to a harness. It doesn’t press against the throat
- Offer canned or soft food to your pet if their appetite is low. It’s much easier to take in
- Eliminating dust, smoke, and other irritating substances within the home
Limiting the Spread of Kennel Cough to Other Dogs
If you have multiple dogs at home, you should try keeping the pet that has Kennel Cough in a separate space. Avoid take them to walk more than necessary and clean your hands after engaging with your dog.
Make sure you follow these steps until your veterinarian gives you the approval to allow your dog to socialize. If you can’t make an appointment, immediately think about keeping your dog inside for a while to ensure everyone’s safety.
Preventing Kennel Cough in Dogs
Vaccination is among the best methods to stop the spread of kennel-cough, especially for dogs that socialize or visit places (boarding, grooming, days care facilities, pet parks, etc.) or attend events where lots of dogs are present.
There are vaccines available for certain infections of tracheobronchitis, such as Bordetella, the bronchiseptica, and a variety of viral diseases. Your veterinarian will recommend which is the best for your pet according to their personal needs and the risk within your area. It’s essential to keep your dog current on their vaccine boosters (the Bordetella vaccine is usually boostered every 6 to 12 months) to get the most benefits.
It is still possible for a dog that has been vaccinated to develop kennel cough since not all pathogens can be prevented through vaccinations and because immunity doesn’t last forever. Therefore, vaccinations remain advised since they significantly reduce the risk and could result in more mild cases (and an earlier recovery) if a dog develops kennel cough.
It is also possible to carefully reduce your dog’s chances of getting injured by selecting services (boarding, grooming, etc.). Kennel cough is a possibility even in excellent facilities as with the human daycare facility in which infectious diseases can occur despite the measures taken.
However, looking for a place that adheres to specific standards will make the occurrence of kennel cough less likely. This means that the facility must require ALL animals to have been current on the kennel-cough vaccination and have measures in place to keep out dogs that develop coughs. At the same time, they are in their care and also have an effective air filtering system.
Although kennel cough in dogs is not uncommon, planning and knowing what to do when your dog has coughed can reduce its severity. As well as stop the spread across other dogs and help your dog return to their routine as quickly as is possible.
Is your dog coughing? Call us or schedule an appointment with a veterinarian today.