Have you ever heard your dog make sounds like a honking goose or a cat choking on a hair ball? If so, your Dog is not trying to play music, he/she may have been affected by the Kennel Cough virus.
What is Kennel Cough? Kennel Cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease Dogs can get from other affected dogs that produces a loud dry cough and can last for up to about 20 days.
How Do Dogs Contract Kennel Cough?
Due to the disease being extremely contagious, Dogs contract Kennel Cough (canine infectious tracheobronchitis) by inhaling the virus particles into their respiratory tract. Dogs can spread it to one another through direct contact, airborne droplets, or through infected shared surfaces, such as bowls or toys.
What Are The Symptoms of Kennel Cough?
Kennel cough produces a dry, forceful, loud cough that may appear 5-10 days after exposure to other affected Dogs. Some affected Dogs may have “the sneezes” if they are experiencing post nasal drip or throat irritation. Others may have a runny nose or eye discharge.
Dogs diagnosed with Kennel Cough usually act like their happy go lucky self, still eating and playing, but produce a bad cough or constant sneezing.
If your Dog is not eating, has trouble breathing, has bad nasal discharge, or is lethargic, please see your Veterinarian because your Dog may have something more serious. Ongoing Kennel Cough infection can lead to pneumonia.
Per AKC columnist, Kevin Fitzgerald, DVM, the Canine Distemper Virus and Canine Influenza virus both start off with symptoms nearly identical to Kennel Cough. Severe coughing may also be caused if your Dog has heart disease, asthma, a collapsing trachea, or bronchitis.
What Is The Treatment of Kennel Cough?
Most dogs will recover on their own without treatment, but medication may speed up recovery time or minimize the symptoms. In most cases, treatment is given to help control the harsh cough, so damage to your Dogs trachea does not occur. Some medications your Veterinarian may prescibe are hydrocodone and butorphanol. Keeping your Dog near a humidifier and using a harness, instead of a collar may help to minimize coughing.
Most Dogs will recover completely within three weeks, but it may take up to six weeks for older Dogs or those with underlying medical conditions to recover.
How Do I Prevent Kennel Cough?
Dogs that are frequently exposed to large groups of dogs are more susceptible to Kennel Cough and would benefit from a vaccine to prevent the virus.
Examples of Dogs more at Risk:
- Dogs that attend Doggie Daycares
- Dogs that are boarded
- Show Dogs
- Dogs that complete in Sports
- Performing Dogs
- Dogs that attend Dog Parks
- Frequently hospitalized Dogs
Many Dogs that fall into these example categories are required to show proof of vaccination. The vaccine, Bordetalla Bacterium is available in three forms, an oral version, an injectable version, and one delivered as a nasal mist. The vaccine is usually initially given in two doses 2-4 weeks apart, followed by a booster every six months to a year. Even though, these three forms of vaccines may help prevent Kennel Cough, the vaccine will not treat the active Kennel Cough (canine infectious tracheobronchitis) virus. For more information on Vaccines, please visit, “What Vaccines Do Dogs Need?“
Although, Bordetalla Bacterium is the most common agent to cause Kennel Cough, the virus can be caused by many different bacteria and viruses. Therefore, if your Dog has a dry, loud, honk-like cough and you know your Dog has been around a group of Dogs, please communicate this to your Veterinarian. To Learn how to save money of Vaccinations, please visit, “How To Save Money on Dog Vaccinations?“
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*This article is for information purposes only and any health concerns should be discussed with your veterinarian.