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

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

Does your dog have a nonproductive dry cough? They might have kennel cough. In this blog, our Santa Clarita vets share some key points you should know about kennel cough in dogs, including how you can help prevent it.

Kennel Cough in Dogs

Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, which can also be called kennel cough, is a respiratory disease that is common among dogs. In many cases, kennel cough is caused by the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria and canine parainfluenza virus. It can attack the lining of the dog's respiratory tract and causes irritation and inflammation of a pet's upper airway. While this condition isn't generally serious for healthy adult dogs, it could result in serious secondary infections in senior dogs, young puppies, or dogs that have a weakened immune system.

The term kennel cough comes from the very contagious character of this illness, meaning it can spread quickly in areas where dogs come into close contact with each other including kennels, multi-dog homes, and dog parks. 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 bowels, blankets, toys, and cages.

The Symptoms of Kennel Cough in Dogs

A non-productive persistent dry cough is the main symptom of kennel cough, and it can sound a bit like a goose honk or as if your pooch has something caught in their throat. Other signs of kennel cough in dogs can include lack of energy, lack of appetite, sneezing, a runny nose, and a mild fever.

If your dog is exhibiting kennel cough symptoms, keep them separated from the other animals in your home and call your vet as quickly as you can for advice.

Due to the incredibly contagious nature of the condition, if your dog is otherwise healthy, and 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.

On the other hand, if your pup's symptoms are more severe your vet may recommend bringing your pet in for an examination.

How Dogs are Diagnosed With Kennel Cough

Dogs are usually diagnosed with kennel cough through a process of elimination because a handful of more severe illnesses have similar symptoms to kennel cough. Your vet will examine your pet for signs of cancer, bronchitis, collapsing trachea, heartworm disease, asthma, heart disease, and more. Coughing could also be a sign of canine distemper virus or canine influenza virus.

Your vet will determine whether kennel cough is the likely cause of your dog's symptoms depending on your pup's medical history and the results of their physical examination.

Treating Dogs With Kennel Cough

Kennel cough can be easy to treat in adult dogs that are otherwise healthy. Your vet might determine that medications are not needed and that rest is the best treatment for your pooch while the infection takes its course (very similar to the human cold).

If your pup's symptoms are more severe your veterinarian might prescribe antibiotics to help prevent secondary infections or cough suppressants to provide your pup with some relief from the persistent coughing.

As your dog recovers, it's best not to use neck collars, and use a body harness instead when you are walking your dog. You might also want to run a humidifier, in areas where your dog spends time because this could help relieve their 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

Ask your vet about vaccinating your pooch against kennel cough if they regularly spend time with other dogs. While this vaccine may help to prevent kennel cough it doesn't offer 100% protection, because 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.

Contact our Santa Clarita vets as soon as you can if your dog is showing symptoms of kennel cough.

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