Have you noticed that your dog has a dry cough that is producing any substances from their lungs or throat? If you have, your dog may have Kennel Cough. Here, our Grass Valley vets provide information about the symptoms, treatments and prevention of this contagious disease.
What is Kennel Cough?
Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis is better known as Kennel cough. It is a contagious respiratory disease common in dogs. Kennel cough is generally caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria and canine parainfluenza virus, each of while attack the lining of your pup's respiratory tract and cause inflammation and irritation of their upper airway. This condition isn't serious for most healthy dogs, however, it may lead to more serious secondary infections in young, old or immunocompromised dogs.
The name kennel cough comes from the highly contagious nature of this condition, which causes it to spread rapidly in places where pets are in close contact with each other such as kennels, dog parks, and multi-dog homes. 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 dog toys, bowls, cages or blankets.
Kennel Cough Symptoms in Dogs
The most notable symptom of kennel cough is a non-productive and persistent dry cough that may sound a bit like a goose honking or like your dog has something stuck in their throat. Other signs of kennel cough include a runny nose, lack of energy, a decreased appetite and a mild fever.
If your dog is showing symptoms of kennel cough, keep them far from other dogs and contact your vet as soon as possible.
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 Kennel Cough is Diagnosed
The diagnosis of kennel cough is generally a simple process of elimination. There are many, more serious, conditions that share a number of symptoms with kennel cough. Because of this, your vet will examine your dog for signs of conditions like bronchitis, asthma, cancer, heart disease, heartworms, a collapsing trachea and more. Coughing can be a sign of canine influence virus or distemper virus as well.
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.
How to Treat Kennel Cough in Dogs
In adult dogs that are otherwise quite healthy, kennel cough can be quite easy to treat. Your vet may decide that no medications are required and that the best possible treatment for your pooch is resting and letting the infection run its course (like with a 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 dog recovers, it's a good idea to avoid using neck collars and switch to a body harness when taking your dog for walks. You may also want to humidity rooms where your dog spends lots of time since this can help to relieve your pup'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 Against Kennel Cough
If your dog routinely spends time with other dogs, you should ask your Grass Valley vet about vaccinating your pet against kennel cough. While this vaccination may help to prevent kennel cough in dogs, it isn't 100% effective since the condition can be caused by a few 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.