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

Is your dog experiencing a dry, unproductive cough? If so, it might indicate kennel cough, a highly contagious disease. Our vets in Richmond have furnished vital information about this condition and what steps to take if you observe symptoms in your dog.

What is kennel cough?

Kennel cough, also known as Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, infects dogs' respiratory systems frequently. Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria or canine parainfluenza virus typically cause it, attacking the respiratory tract lining and causing inner airway inflammation. Although usually not severe for healthy dogs, kennel cough can lead to serious secondary infections in puppies, senior dogs, or those with weakened immune systems.

The name "kennel cough" comes from the highly contagious disease, spreading rapidly in places where dogs closely interact, like kennels, dog parks, and multi-dog households. Infection occurs when dogs encounter droplets from an infected dog's cough through direct contact or by touching contaminated objects like toys, bowls, cages, or blankets.

Kennel Cough Symptoms in Dogs

If your dog exhibits a persistent, non-productive cough, it could indicate kennel cough. This cough resembles a honking goose or as if your dog has something stuck in their throat. Additional symptoms comprise a runny nose, sneezing, decreased energy, appetite loss, and mild fever.

If you observe these signs, you must separate your dog from others and promptly consult your vet. Depending on symptom severity, your vet might advise isolating your dog and monitoring their condition or scheduling an examination. Remember, kennel cough spreads quickly, so swift action is essential to safeguard your pet and other dogs.

How Vets Diagnose Kennel Cough

Diagnosing kennel cough essentially involves eliminating other possibilities. Numerous more serious conditions exhibit symptoms similar to kennel cough.

Therefore, your vet will thoroughly examine your pet for signs of various ailments including a collapsing trachea, heartworm disease, bronchitis, asthma, cancer, heart disease, and more.

Additionally, coughing could indicate the presence of canine distemper virus or canine influenza virus.

Based on your pet's examinations and medical history results, your veterinarian will ascertain whether kennel cough is likely the underlying cause of your dog's symptoms.

Treatment for Kennel Cough in Dogs

Treating kennel cough in healthy adult dogs is generally straightforward. Your veterinarian may recommend letting your furry friend rest instead of prescribing medication if they aren't exhibiting severe symptoms. However, if your dog is experiencing persistent coughing, the vet may prescribe antibiotics to prevent secondary infections or provide cough suppressants for relief.

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

While the kennel cough vaccine can help prevent the development of this illness, it isn't a 100% guarantee due to its various root causes. The vaccine is available 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 Broad Street Veterinary Hospital to book an examination for your four-legged friend!

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