Is your dog suffering from a dry, ineffective cough? If this is the case, your dog may be suffering from kennel cough. Today, our White Settlement veterinarians share some information about this highly contagious respiratory disease, as well as what to do if your dog coughs.

What is kennel cough in dogs?

Infectious Canine Tracheobronchitis, also known as kennel cough, is a common respiratory disease in dogs. The bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica and the virus canine parainfluenza attack the lining of the dog's respiratory tract, causing inflammation and irritation of the pup's upper airway. While most otherwise healthy dogs are not affected by this condition, it can lead to more serious secondary infections in young puppies, senior dogs, or dogs with a weakened immune system.

The name kennel cough comes from the highly contagious nature of this condition, which causes it to spread rapidly in places where pets are in close contact with each other such as kennels, dog parks, and multi-dog homes. Kennel cough is spread when dogs come in contact with the droplets released through the cough of an infected dog. This can be through direct contact with the infected dog or through contact with objects that the infected droplets have landed on such as dog toys, bowls, cages or blankets.

Kennel Cough Symptoms in Dogs

The primary signs of kennel cough in dogs is a non-productive persistent dry cough that is often described as sounding like a goose honk, or as if your pooch has something stuck in their throat. Other kennel cough symptoms in dogs can include runny nose, sneezing, lack of energy, decreased appetite and mild fever.

If you spot signs of kennel cough in your dog keep your pet away from other dogs and contact your vet right away for advice.

Because the condition is extremely contagious, if your dog is otherwise healthy and exhibiting mild symptoms, your veterinarian may recommend simply isolating your pet from other dogs and allowing your pup to rest for a few days while you monitor their symptoms.

On the other hand, if your pup's symptoms are more severe your vet may recommend bringing your pet in for an examination.

How Vets Diagnose Kennel Cough

Kennel cough diagnosis is essentially a process of elimination. Because kennel cough symptoms are shared by a number of more serious conditions, your veterinarian will examine your pet for signs of collapsing trachea, heartworm disease, bronchitis, asthma, cancer, heart disease, and other conditions. Coughing may also indicate the presence of the canine distemper virus or canine influenza virus.

Based on the results of your pet's examination and medical history your vet will determine whether kennel cough is the likely cause of your pup's symptoms.

Treatment for Kennel Cough in Dogs

Adult dogs that are otherwise healthy are typically easy to treat for kennel cough. Your vet may decide that no medications are required and that the best treatment for your dog is to rest while the infection runs its course (much like the human cold). 

If your pooch is experiencing more severe symptoms your vet may prescribe antibiotics to help prevent secondary infections or cough suppressants to provide your pup with some relief from the persistent coughing.

When taking your dog for walks during his or her recovery, it's best to avoid using neck collars and instead use a body harness. You might also want to use a humidifier in rooms where your dog spends time, as this can help relieve his symptoms.

Most dogs recover from kennel cough within a week or two. If your pup's symptoms persist for longer a follow-up veterinary appointment is essential. In some cases, kennel cough can lead to pneumonia.

How To Protect Your Dog Against Kennel Cough

If your dog spends a lot of time with other dogs, talk to your vet about vaccinating him against kennel cough. While this vaccine may help to prevent kennel cough, it is not a foolproof solution because kennel cough can be caused by a variety of pathogens.

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. 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 Frontier Veterinary Hospital to book an examination for your four-legged friend!