Kennel cough in dogs

Canine cough is also commonly known as Kennel cough, which is a condition very prevalent in dogs. It is an infection in the upper respiration system that is either caused by bacteria or viruses. The disease affects the Dog’s lungs, voice box and windpipe.

Dogs are likely to contract kennel cough from places where many canines are staying together such as the daycare facilities and boarding, dog shows, training groups and dog parks.

The infection can be spread through direct contact including touching noses and leaking each other, airborne droplets, through fomites such as human beings, clothes and shoes, and by interacting with infected surfaces such as water food bowls.

Causes of Kennel cough in dogs?

Many types of bacteria and viruses cause Kennel cough in dogs. It can as well be a combination of the two. Dogs will essentially become vulnerable when they inhale virus particles or bacteria. This is essentially the reason why Kennel cough is also known as Bordetella. Though, dogs are more likely to suffer from this condition if their immune system is weak. There are some viruses including canine distemper virus, parainfluenza and canine reovirus that are known to weaken the immunity in dogs which makes them more sceptical to this infection. 

Most people say that this condition is not fatal, but now it causes some symptoms that make an infected dog more miserable.

Common symptoms of Kennel cough in dogs

  • Hacking cough-This will usually sound as if something is hanging in the Dog’s throat. Most dog owners or caretakers will typically bring their dogs to a vet, thinking it has a chicken bone or something else stuck on the throat. This hacking cough will be constant and persistent, and it can be in greater measures unsetting. The dogs might be coughing after every few minutes while others may constantly be coughing as they lie down, walk or going through their daily activities.
  • Fever-we all know fever is a very serious symptom which can mean serious health issues with your Dog. Dogs with kennel cough may develop a feaver.
  • Lethargy-Dogs battling kennel cough may have decreased energy, lack of interest in activities and also poor appetite.
  • Discharge-You can also notice Nasal discharge. It’s also very common for dogs suffering from Kennel cough to experience watery and runny eyes. The discharge may be clear in some situations, but you may as well notice cloudy or discoloured discharge.

What is the incubation period?

In most cases, the incubation period will vary from 2-14 days which is the cycle during which the Dog will be contagious.

Diagnosis of Kennel Cough

It’s always advisable to contact a vet immediately you notice the above symptoms. The above symptoms don’t guarantee that your Dog is suffering from Kennel cough and for this reason, the vet will diagnose and rule out if there’s anything serious.

There is a no-yet-proven test for kennel cough, but the vet will make a clinical diagnosis based on the symptoms and the signs visible to him/her.

Because this condition is highly contagious, veterinarians always advise that any dog suspected to have this condition be isolated from other dogs for a period not less than 14 days. Though, the dogs are more likely to spread the infection on the first 10 days.

Kennel coughs treatment in dogs

As I had already stated, the dogs will usually recover from this condition on their own without any medical involvement. This will become the case after three weeks. However, there’s something veterinarians can do to fasten the healing process.

  • Keep the Dog in a well-humidified area
  • Always use a harness instead of a collar
  • Always give your Dog enough vitamins to boost the immunity
  • The vet will recommend medicines that can loosen thick mucus from the lungs.
  • The Dog will also be given cough suppressants and anti-inflammatory, which will make your Dog more comfortable and fasten the recovery process.
  • Antibiotics administration-antibotics can be used to kill Bordetella bacteria which are the most common causative agent in such cases.

Can my Dog get kennel cough more than once?

Kennel cough in dogs may come many times in their lifetime. As I had already stated, there are many causes of this condition which means your Dog can get kennel cough more than once.

Possible complications

Although this condition can go away without any medical intervention, it can lead to severe medical conditions including pneumonia especially in dogs with weakened immunity. What you should know is that you should closely monitor your Dog for any symptoms and take swift actions. Puppies, older dogs and those with any existing medical condition are more vulnerable so, never ignore any symptom.

How to prevent Kennel cough in your dogs?

You don’t have to wait for the infection so you can intervene. Do the following to prevent:

  • Never let your Dog come into contact with any coughing dog
  • Let your Dog get kennel cough vaccination-Dogs are usually vaccinated annually against Bordetella. The Dog will be given a small amount of this vaccine through their nose or it can be injected. The vaccine is expected to last for 6 months to a year after which the Dog will be vaccinated again. Note that these vaccines can help but they don’t guarantee 100% protection.

Can Humans and cats get Kennel cough?

Kennel cough in dogs has many causes but the good news is that most canine viruses are not transmitted to cats and human beings.

Key Facts

  1. Kennel cough in dogs will affect the upper respiratory system of a dog and is caused by a number of viruses and bacteria
  2. Some groups of dogs including puppies, older dogs and dogs with existing health conditions are more vulnerable.
  3. Kennel cough is not mainly dangerous and will clear on its own within a few weeks.
  4. The Dog will be coughing but this doesn’t make your Dog ill.
  5. The incubation period is 14 days.
  6. The vaccine for this condition is available and you can get the Dog vaccinated once every year.

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