Kennel cough in dogs: its dreadful but treatable
Does your dog show symptoms of hacking away or is constantly making noises which sounds like he/she is choking on something?? If yes, then your pup maybe suffering from canine infectious tracheal bronchitis or kennel cough.
Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease. Dogs normally contract kennel cough via places where there are large amounts of dog congregates like daycare or boarding facilities, training groups, dog shows, and dog parks. Kennel cough can be spread to other dogs by either a direct contact like touching noses, droplets, or by use of contaminated surfaces like food, water, or water bowl. Even though kennel cough sounds like a dreadful disease, it is fairly treatable. However, if the disease affects immunocompromised dogs or young puppies (younger than six months) it can present in a severe manner and is difficult to treat.
What causes kennel cough in dogs?
Kennel cough can be caused by many types of viruses and bacteria. Sometimes, this can be caused by a combination of bacteria and viruses. The most common bacterial strain which causes Kennel cough is the Bordetella bronchiseptica. This is the reason, Kennel cough is sometimes referred to as Bordetella. Most of the time, it has been observed that dogs are more susceptible to a Bordetella infection if their immune system has been detained by a previous infection. A few viruses which have been known to make dogs susceptible to kennel cough are canine distemper virus, canine herpes virus, canine adenovirus, canine reovirus, and parainfluenza virus.
How can your dog get infected by Kennel cough?
The name of kennel cough is mainly derived from the word Kendall or shelter which is the primary region from where dogs acquire the infection. Not many get infected by being around other dogs who are suffering from kennel cough. There are a few factors that have been known to exacerbate the likelihood that your dog might get infected.
These factors are:
- Staying with dogs who are suffering from kennel cough
- Dogs were living in crowded conditions
- Poor ventilation availability
- Exposure to cigarette or dust smoke
- Stress-induced due to traveling
- Living in cold conditions
What are the primary symptoms of kennel cough?
If your dog is suffering from kennel cough, your dog might display a few or multiple of the following symptoms:
- A strong coughing sound often accompanying the dry sound of honking, this is the most obvious Kennel cough symptom.
- Appetite loss
- Low-grade fever
- Runny nose or eye discharge
The sound of kennel cough can be as if your dog has something stuck in his or her throat. The noises your dog makes does not sound like a reverse sneeze or sneeze. However, the noises can be dry and hoarse or there can be mucus production associated with it, which your dog may try to swallow. Besides the above-mentioned symptoms, your dog should not fall ill and have a normal appetite.
How does kennel cough spread from one dog to the other?
As previously mentioned, kennel cough is a highly contagious disease and can easily spread from one dog to another. The most likely transmission method is when dogs cough, the viruses, and bacteria become airborne and can quickly enter into the respiratory tract of other animals. Kennel cough can also be transmitted via dog toys, shared dog food bowls for other shared items.
If you are speculating that your dog might be suffering from kennel cough, keep your dog isolated from all the other animals in the house to limit the spread of infection.
What is the incubation period of kennel cough?
Usually, the incubation period of this disease ranges from 2 to 14 days. During this time your dog is likely to spread the infection, thus, it is advised to keep your dog away from other dogs. However, it has been observed that in some cases, dogs can stay as carriers for several months without exhibiting the symptoms of kennel cough.
How long does the disease last?
It has been observed that kennel cough usually clears up within a span of two to three weeks. At times, it can take up to six weeks to clear up. This is mostly observed in the case of older dogs or dogs who are suffering from pre-existing medical conditions.
In extremely rare and severe cases, the illness can progress to become pneumonia. Thus, keep an eye on your dog and immediately contact your veterinarian if your dog’s condition is not improving.
What is the treatment of kennel cough?
Kennel cough has been observed to usually go away on its own. In most cases, it clears up within a span of three weeks and does not require any treatment. While suffering from kennel cough, if your dog is otherwise eating well and displays his or her normal behavior, then you have nothing to worry about. You can use home remedies to keep your dog more comfortable and reduce the discomfort of kennel cough. This includes keeping your dog in a humid area and avoid using the collar on your dog
If you want to pay your vet a visit, it is advised to call your vet beforehand so that when you take your dog in, the contact of your dog with other animals at the vet clinic can be strictly avoided. The vet might prescribe antibiotics to target the Bordetella. They can also prescribe an anti-inflammatory or an anti-cough medicine to soothe your dog’s sore throat.
Check out these amazing home remedies for Kennel cough in dogs
Is there a vaccine available for kennel cough?
Generally, puppy and booster vaccinations include antibodies against some of the viruses which can cause kennel cough. These viruses mostly include canine distemper, canine adenovirus, canine parainfluenza virus, and canine influenza virus. There are vaccines available which are specific against Bordetella. These vaccines are generally administered as either as an injection or a nasal spray. However, since Kennel cough includes a wide range of bacterial strains, one vaccine against kennel cough cannot guarantee complete protection for your dog.
Can kennel cough be transmitted to humans?
Even though most of the canine viruses do not get transmitted to humans, Bordetella bronchiseptica has the ability to infect humans. However, this is rarely observed and mainly infects people who have a weakened immune system. Such cases have been observed to be very few and should not be a concern for most of the dog guardians.
Has your or your acquaintance’s dog ever suffered from kennel cough? Is there any advice you have for other dog guardians about the same? Please share your experiences in the comment section below. If you wish to share your stories as part of my blog post, make sure to contact me on one of my social media channels and subscribe to this blog
See you in my next post