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Kennel Cough Symptoms And Treatment

2 golden retriever puppies sitting on green grass.

Kennel Cough is a contagious respiratory disease that affects canines. Also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, dogs can contract this wherever there is a substantial canine population. This includes dog parks, dog shows, training groups, boarding and daycare centers. Let’s look at Kennel Cough symptoms and treatment.

Dogs spread this disease to other dogs through contaminated things like water, direct contact like touching noses, or airborne droplets. Kennel cough is curable, but it isn’t easy to treat if it affects puppies under six months old or dogs with a low immune system.

What Are The Symptoms Of Kennel Cough?

The most apparent symptom of kennel cough is an intense cough. Other tell-tale signs include:

  • Being Lethargic
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sneezing
  • Running nose

You shouldn’t just assume that your dog has kennel cough if it exhibits any of the symptoms mentioned above. If you notice your dog coughing, report this to a veterinarian immediately as it may be the beginning of a more severe condition. Some conditions that start with a strong cough include heart disease, bronchitis, collapsing trachea, and asthma.

Kennel cough also shares its symptoms with canine influenza virus and canine distemper virus. The best way to rule out these other conditions is to visit a veterinarian as soon as you notice any of these symptoms.

How Do You Treat Kennel Cough?

Moderate cases of kennel cough go away after 1-2 weeks of rest. However, a veterinarian may also give your dog antibiotics to prevent a recurrence of the disease. The veterinarian will likely also prescribe cough medicine to help relieve the symptoms. It’s rare your veterinarian will prescribe nebulizers, bronchodilators, or inhaled antibiotics for kennel cough. Talk to your veterinarian to determine the most appropriate treatment for your dog.

Dog owners are advised to use a harness instead of a collar when walking a dog with kennel cough. Collars are much more likely to irritate the trachea, which could then aggravate the cough and cause more damage. If diagnosed with kennel cough, you should also determine whether other pets in your household show any signs of a cough. If so, you should also seek treatment for them.

Is Kennel Cough Preventable?

Kennel cough is typically caused by an agent known as Bordetella bacterium. The vaccine for this agent comes in injectable, intranasal, and oral forms. The vaccine is primarily administered in two doses, two to four weeks apart.

Generally, a booster shot is administered annually. This vaccine is highly beneficial to dogs that frequent boarding facilities, daycare centers, canine sports competitions, or mingle with many canines. Dogs taken to boarding, training, and daycare centers are required to provide proof of vaccination to be admitted.

While Bordetella may be the leading cause of kennel cough, other agents can also cause this condition. This means it is possible the Bordetella vaccine may fail to protect your dog from the disease. However, you should always discuss any concerns with your vet, and contact them if your pet shows any sign of discomfort.

In Conclusion

Kennel cough primarily affects dogs. Although it is curable, some of its symptoms may be caused by other serious diseases. For example, a strong cough doesn’t necessarily mean your dog has kennel cough. It could point to another serious condition like bronchitis, heart disease, or asthma.

Furthermore, some dogs may fail to respond to the Bordetella vaccine if kennel cough is caused by other agents other than the Bordetella bacterium. If your dog is coughing or you plan to be around a large group of canines, seek the counsel of a veterinarian.

The professionals at Naples Coastal Animal Hospital are ready to handle all aspects of your pet’s care. Your pet’s wellbeing is our main concern. Contact us today to learn more about our vaccinations and kennel cough or to schedule an appointment.