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

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

Is your dog experiencing a dry, unproductive cough? If so, it may be a sign of kennel cough, which is a highly contagious disease. Our vets in New York have provided some essential information about this condition and what to do if you notice your dog showing symptoms.

What is kennel cough?

Kennel cough, or Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, is a respiratory infection that is frequently diagnosed in dogs. The infection is often caused by either Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria or canine parainfluenza virus, both of which attack the lining of the respiratory tract and lead to inflammation of the inner airways. While kennel cough is usually not a severe condition for healthy dogs, it can cause serious secondary infections in puppies, senior dogs, or those with weakened immune systems.

The term "kennel cough" is derived from the highly contagious nature of the disease, which spreads quickly in places where dogs are in close contact with each other, such as kennels, dog parks, and homes with multiple dogs. The infection spreads when dogs come into contact with droplets from the cough of an infected dog. This can occur through direct contact with the infected dog or by touching objects that the infected droplets, such as dog toys, bowls, cages, or blankets have contaminated.

Kennel Cough Symptoms in Dogs

If your dog is experiencing a persistent, non-productive cough, it may be a sign of kennel cough. This cough is often described as sounding like a honking goose or as if your dog has something stuck in their throat. Other symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, lack of energy, decreased appetite, and mild fever.

If you notice these signs, it's important to keep your dog away from other dogs and contact your vet for advice. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, your vet may recommend isolating your dog from others and monitoring their condition or bringing them in for an examination. Remember, kennel cough is highly contagious, so it's crucial to take quick action to keep your pet and other dogs safe.

How Vets Diagnose Kennel Cough

Diagnosing kennel cough is essentially a process of elimination. There are a number of more serious conditions that share the symptoms of kennel cough, as such your vet will examine your pet for signs of a collapsing trachea, heartworm disease, bronchitis, asthma, cancer, heart disease and more. Coughing can also be a sign of 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

When it comes to treating kennel cough in healthy adult dogs, the process is generally straightforward. Your veterinarian may recommend letting your furry friend rest instead of medication if they aren't exhibiting severe symptoms. However, if your dog is experiencing persistent coughing, antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent secondary infections, or cough suppressants can be given to provide relief.

During your dog's recovery, avoiding neck collars and using a body harness for walks is best. You can also use a humidifier in rooms where your dog spends time to help alleviate symptoms. Although most dogs recover within one to two weeks, it's crucial to schedule a follow-up veterinary appointment if symptoms persist, as kennel cough can sometimes lead to pneumonia.

While the kennel cough vaccine can be helpful in preventing the development of this illness, it isn't a 100% guarantee since it can have various root causes. The vaccine comes in three forms: injection, nasal mist, and oral medication. If your veterinarian recommends the vaccine for your pet, they will determine 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 Rivergate Veterinary Clinic to book an examination for your four-legged friend!

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