Does your four-legged friend have kennel cough? Is your dog making odd sounds similar to those made when choking, or are you hearing noises that sound straight up like coughs? This isn’t a serious condition in most cases, and many dogs are able to recover from it without any treatment.
What is Kennel Cough
Similar to human colds being caused by different viruses, kennel cough also has multiple causes. A Bacterium named Bordetella bronchiseptica m is one of the leading culprits in causing this cough. If a dog becomes infected with Bordetella, they are more times than noninfected with a virus as well. The known viruses that make dogs more susceptible to a Bordetella infection include:
- Canine adenovirus
- Canine distemper virus
- Canine herpes virus
- Parainfluenza virus
- Canine reovirus
This is caused by inhaling bacteria or virus particles into the respiratory tract. Normally, the respiratory tract is lined with a coating of mucus that works by entrapping infection particles. However, there are a various reason as to why protection could be weakened, making dogs prone to infections. This results in inflammation of the voicebox and windpipe.
Some reasons include:
- Exposure to crowded as well as poorly ventilated conditions.
- Cold temperatures
- Exposure to dust or cigarette smoke
- Travel induced stress
The Symptoms – You Need to Know
The first noticed symptom of kennel cough is a persistent and forceful cough. It has been said to sound similar to a goose honk. This is distinct from the cough-like sound called a reverse sneeze, often done by smaller dogs. Reverse sneezes are very normal in dogs and only indicate a post-nasal drip or some irritation at the throat.
Dogs with this cough often may show symptoms of illness by sneezing, a runny nose, or eye discharge. It is uncommon for dogs to lose their appetite or have a decreased energy level because of kennel cough.
The Treatment and Prevention of Kennel Cough
It is important to remember that kennel cough is contagious. Therefore, if you think that your dog may be infected, it is best to keep them far away from other animals and contact the veterinarian.
It is common for this cough to resolve without requiring treatment. Medications may aid in speeding the recovery as well as minimizing symptoms while still infected. The medications include antibiotics that will target the Bordetella bacteria, as well as cough medicines. Keeping your dog in a well-humidified area, as well as choosing a harness instead of a collar, will greatly minimize your dog’s coughing, especially if your dog strains against their leash.
It takes three weeks for dogs with this cough to completely recover. However, if your dog is older or has other medical conditions, recovery may take up to six weeks. An ongoing this cough infection could become serious and lead to pneumonia. Therefore it is best to consult with the vet if your dog has not begun to show signs of recovery within the recommended amount of time. Be sure to keep an eye out for symptoms such as rapid breathing, not eating, or listlessness. These symptoms could indicate other serious issues!
The vaccine is available in three forms:
- A vaccine that gets injected
- A vaccine that is delivered as a nasal mist
- Oral vaccine
Although these vaccines could help significantly with the prevention of this cough, they do not guarantee protection. This is because kennel cough can be caused by a virus of bacteria! The kennel cough vaccinations are unable to treat active infections in any form.
If at high risk for this disease, the intranasal and oral vaccine may be required every six months. If not, yearly vaccines will do. Intranasal and oral vaccines have been said to provide dogs with protection from the cough sooner than the injected vaccine.
One Cough Away
Kennel’s cough generally heals on its own without requiring extensive medical treatment. It is, however, still important for you to pay close attention to your dog when they begin to show symptoms. If the symptoms worsen, it is best to take your dog to the vet for an examination.