Kennel cough can cause your dog to experience a dry cough and significant discomfort. In this blog, our veterinarians in Brodheadsville share insights into kennel cough in dogs and outline the necessary steps to take if your pup contracts this condition.

What is Kennel Cough in Dogs?

Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, commonly known as kennel cough, infects dogs' respiratory systems. It primarily results from the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica and the canine parainfluenza virus, which attack the lining of the respiratory tract, causing irritation and inflammation. Although typically not severe for healthy dogs, it can lead to more serious secondary infections in geriatric dogs, young puppies, or those with weakened immune systems.

The term "kennel cough" derives from its highly contagious nature, facilitating rapid transmission in settings where dogs closely interact, such as multi-dog households, kennels, and dog parks. Transmission occurs when dogs encounter droplets expelled by coughing from infected individuals. This can happen through direct contact or contact with contaminated objects like toys, bowls, cages, or blankets.

Kennel Cough Symptoms in Dogs

The main symptom of kennel cough is a non-productive persistent dry cough, often resembling a goose honk or if your dog has something stuck in its throat. Other symptoms in dogs may include a lack of energy, a mild fever, sneezing, a runny nose, and a lack of appetite.

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, separate them from other dogs in your home and immediately call your vet for advice.

This condition is highly contagious. If your dog is otherwise healthy and only shows mild symptoms, your vet may suggest isolating them from other pets and providing several days of rest while monitoring their symptoms.

However, if your dog has more severe symptoms, your vet might recommend bringing them into the office for examination.

Diagnosing Dogs With Kennel Coughs

Diagnosing kennel cough essentially involves eliminating other possibilities. Your vet will examine your pet for signs of collapsing trachea, heartworm disease, bronchitis, asthma, cancer, heart disease, and more, as several serious conditions share symptoms with kennel cough. Coughing may also indicate canine distemper virus or canine influenza virus.

Your vet will determine whether kennel cough is likely based on the results of your pet's examination and medical history.

How Kennel Cough in Dogs is Treated

Treating healthy adult dogs for kennel cough is usually straightforward. Your vet may opt for a treatment plan that involves rest for your dog, allowing the infection to run its course, much like a human cold.

If your dog's symptoms are more severe, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to prevent secondary infections or cough suppressants to ease the continuous coughing.

During your dog's recovery, avoiding neck collars and using a body harness for walks is advisable. Additionally, running a humidifier in rooms where your dog spends most of its time may help alleviate symptoms.

Recovery from kennel cough typically takes one to two weeks for dogs. If your canine companion's symptoms persist beyond this timeframe, scheduling a follow-up appointment with your vet is crucial, as kennel cough can sometimes progress to pneumonia.

Preventing Kennel Cough in Dogs

If your dog spends a fair amount of time around other dogs, talk to your vet about getting your dog vaccinated against kennel cough. While this vaccine could help prevent kennel cough it doesn't offer 100% prevention because various pathogens could cause kennel cough.

Three forms of the vaccine are available injection, nasal mist, and oral medication. If the kennel cough vaccine is recommended for your pet, your veterinarian will choose the most appropriate form.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet to accurately diagnose your pet's condition.

Are you concerned about a dry cough your dog has developed? Contact our Brodheadsville vets to schedule an appointment today.