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

If your dog is coughing without producing anything, they may have kennel cough. It's highly contagious. Our vets at Clovis can give you more info and advice if your dog shows symptoms.

What is kennel cough?

Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, more commonly known as kennel cough, is a common respiratory infection found in dogs. Kennel cough can often be caused by the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria or canine parainfluenza virus which both attack the lining of your dog's respiratory tract, leading to inflammation of their inner airways. 

While this condition isn't serious for most otherwise healthy dogs, it can lead to more serious secondary infections in young puppies, senior dogs, or dogs with a weakened immune system.

Kennel cough is a highly contagious condition that spreads quickly in places where pets are in close contact, such as kennels, dog parks, and multi-dog homes. The name "kennel cough" reflects this contagiousness. This condition is transmitted through droplets released when infected dogs cough. Other dogs can become infected by direct contact with the infected dog or through contact with objects that have been contaminated with the infected droplets, such as dog toys, bowls, cages, or blankets.

Kennel Cough Symptoms in Dogs

Kennel cough is characterized by a persistent and unproductive cough in dogs, which means that it doesn't expel any substances from their respiratory system. This cough is commonly described as similar to a goose honking or as if something is stuck in the dog's throat. Additionally, other symptoms of kennel cough in dogs may include a runny nose, sneezing, decreased energy, loss of appetite, and a mild fever.

If you spot signs of kennel cough in your dog keep your pet away from other dogs and contact your vet right away for advice.

If your dog is displaying symptoms of this highly contagious condition but is otherwise healthy, your veterinarian may suggest isolating your pooch from other dogs and monitoring the progress of their illness over a few days while allowing them to rest.

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

How Vets Diagnose Kennel Cough

Detecting kennel cough involves excluding other diseases with similar symptoms. Your veterinarian will assess your pet for indications of various conditions like a collapsing trachea, heartworm disease, bronchitis, asthma, cancer, heart disease, and others, as these can share signs with kennel cough. It's important to note that coughing can also indicate other illnesses such as canine distemper virus or canine influenza virus.

Depending on the results of your pet's examinations and medical history, your veterinarian will determine whether or not kennel cough is the probable cause of your dog's symptoms

Treatment for Kennel Cough in Dogs

Adult dogs that would otherwise be considered healthy are generally quite easy to treat for kennel cough. Your veterinarian may decide that no medications are required to treat this illness and that, in fact, the best treatment is for your companion to rest while their infection runs its course.

If your dog is infected with kennel cough, it's important to allow them to rest while the infection runs its course. In more severe cases, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to prevent secondary infections or cough suppressants to provide relief.

Prescribe antibiotics to help prevent infections or give your pup some relief from persistent coughing. During your dog's recovery, it's best to avoid using neck collars and switch to a body harness for walks. Additionally, you might want to consider using a... (text incomplete)

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.

How To Protect Your Dog Against Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a potentially serious condition that can even lead to pneumonia in some cases. If your dog frequently interacts with other dogs, it's important to talk to your vet about getting them vaccinated against kennel cough. This vaccine is highly effective in preventing the development of the illness in dogs.

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 pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog suffering from a dry hacking cough? Contact Family Pet Hospital to book an examination for your four-legged friend!

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