Can Dogs Get Kennel Cough? Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
As a dog owner, you may have heard of kennel cough, a highly contagious respiratory disease that affects dogs of all ages. But what exactly is kennel cough, and can your furry friend get it? The answer is yes, dogs can get kennel cough, and it’s important to understand the symptoms, treatment, and prevention of this disease to keep your pet healthy.
Kennel cough, also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is caused by several viruses and bacteria, including Bordetella bronchiseptica, parainfluenza virus, and adenovirus. It is highly contagious and can spread quickly in environments where dogs are in close contact, such as kennels, dog parks, and grooming facilities. However, dogs can also contract kennel cough through casual contact, such as sniffing each other on walks or sharing water bowls.
While kennel cough is rarely life-threatening, it can cause discomfort and inconvenience for your pet. Symptoms include a persistent, dry cough, retching, sneezing, and nasal discharge. In severe cases, kennel cough can lead to pneumonia or other respiratory infections. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available, and with proper care and prevention measures, you can help your dog recover from kennel cough and avoid future infections.
What is Kennel Cough?
Kennel Cough, also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs. It is caused by a combination of bacteria and viruses, including Bordetella bronchiseptica, canine adenovirus type 2, canine parainfluenza virus, and canine respiratory coronavirus. The disease is characterized by inflammation of the trachea and bronchi, which leads to a dry, hacking cough.
Dogs commonly contract Kennel Cough in places where large amounts of canines are housed together, such as boarding facilities, dog shows, and animal shelters. The disease spreads through the air when an infected dog coughs or sneezes, or through contact with contaminated surfaces like food and water bowls, toys, and bedding.
The symptoms of Kennel Cough usually appear within three to seven days after exposure to the virus. The most common symptom is a persistent, forceful cough that sounds like a goose honk. Other symptoms may include nasal discharge, sneezing, lethargy, loss of appetite, and fever. In severe cases, Kennel Cough can lead to pneumonia, which can be life-threatening in young puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with weakened immune systems.
Symptoms of Kennel Cough in Dogs
Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease that affects dogs of all ages and breeds. It is caused by a variety of viruses and bacteria that can damage the lining of the dog’s respiratory tract, leading to inflammation and irritation. The most common symptoms of kennel cough include:
- A persistent, dry cough that sounds like a honking noise
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Lethargy and loss of appetite
- Fever (in some cases)
The cough associated with kennel cough is often described as a “goose honk” because of its unique sound. It is a dry, hacking cough that can be triggered by exercise, excitement, or pressure on the dog’s trachea. The cough can last for several weeks and may be accompanied by gagging or retching.
Other symptoms of kennel cough may include nasal discharge, which can be clear or thick and yellowish-green in color. Sneezing and a runny nose are also common, and some dogs may develop a fever. In severe cases, kennel cough can progress to pneumonia, which can cause difficulty breathing and require hospitalization.
If your dog is showing any symptoms of kennel cough, it is important to seek veterinary care right away. While kennel cough is usually not life-threatening, it can lead to more serious complications if left untreated. Your veterinarian can diagnose kennel cough based on your dog’s symptoms and may recommend treatment with antibiotics or cough suppressants to help relieve the cough and other symptoms.
How is Kennel Cough Transmitted?
Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease that affects dogs of all ages and breeds. The disease is caused by various airborne viruses and bacteria, such as Bordetella bronchiseptica, canine parainfluenza, and canine adenovirus. Kennel cough is transmitted through direct contact with an infected dog or by coming into contact with contaminated objects or surfaces.
The most common way for kennel cough to spread is through coughing and sneezing. When an infected dog coughs or sneezes, they release tiny droplets of saliva and mucus into the air. These droplets can travel up to 20 feet and infect other dogs that inhale them. Kennel cough can also spread through shared water bowls, toys, and other objects that an infected dog has come into contact with.
It’s important to note that kennel cough can be easily transmitted in places where dogs congregate, such as kennels, dog parks, and grooming facilities. Therefore, it’s crucial for dog owners to take precautions to prevent the spread of the disease.
Diagnosis of Kennel Cough
Diagnosing kennel cough can be challenging, as it shares symptoms with other respiratory illnesses. A veterinarian will typically diagnose kennel cough based on the dog’s medical history, clinical signs, and a physical examination. It is essential to inform the vet if the dog has been in contact with other dogs or has recently visited a kennel or boarding facility.
The vet may also perform additional tests, such as blood tests, chest x-rays, or tracheal washes to rule out other potential causes of the cough. In some cases, a bacterial culture may be necessary to identify the specific bacteria causing the infection.
It’s important to note that kennel cough is often a self-limiting illness that will resolve on its own without treatment. However, treatment may be necessary for dogs with severe or persistent symptoms, as well as those at risk of developing complications.
If you suspect your dog has kennel cough, it’s essential to seek veterinary care promptly. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent the spread of the disease to other dogs and reduce the risk of complications.
Treatment of Kennel Cough in Dogs
Kennel cough is typically a self-limiting disease and will resolve on its own within a few weeks. However, treatment may be necessary to alleviate symptoms and prevent secondary infections.
If your dog has a mild case of kennel cough, your veterinarian may recommend rest and isolation to prevent the spread of the disease. In addition, your vet may prescribe cough suppressants to help your dog feel more comfortable and antibiotics to prevent secondary infections.
For more severe cases of kennel cough, hospitalization may be necessary. This is especially true if your dog is having difficulty breathing, is not eating or drinking, or has a fever. In the hospital, your dog will receive oxygen therapy, intravenous fluids, and other supportive care to help them recover.
It is important to note that antibiotics are not always necessary for the treatment of kennel cough. While antibiotics can help prevent secondary infections, they are not effective against viral infections. Therefore, it is important to speak with your veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment for your dog based on their individual symptoms and medical history.
In addition to medical treatment, there are several things you can do at home to help your dog recover from kennel cough. These include:
- Keeping your dog hydrated by providing plenty of fresh water
- Using a humidifier to help soothe your dog’s throat and reduce coughing
- Feeding your dog soft, easily digestible foods to reduce irritation to the throat
- Avoiding exposure to smoke, dust, and other irritants that can worsen symptoms
- Keeping your dog isolated from other dogs to prevent the spread of the disease
Overall, with prompt treatment and proper care, most dogs with kennel cough will make a full recovery within a few weeks. However, it is important to monitor your dog closely and seek veterinary care if their symptoms worsen or do not improve with treatment.
Prevention of Kennel Cough
Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can be easily transmitted from one dog to another. However, there are several precautions that can be taken to help prevent your dog from becoming infected with kennel cough.
Vaccination: One of the best ways to prevent kennel cough is through vaccination. Vaccines are available for several of the viruses and bacteria that cause kennel cough, including Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza virus. Vaccination is especially important for dogs who socialize or go to facilities such as boarding, grooming, or day care.
Hygiene: Good hygiene practices can also help prevent the spread of kennel cough. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling dogs, and disinfect any surfaces or objects that may have come into contact with an infected dog.
Isolation: If your dog is showing symptoms of kennel cough, it is important to isolate them from other dogs to prevent the spread of the disease. Keep your dog away from other dogs until they have fully recovered.
Limit Exposure: Limiting your dog’s exposure to other dogs can also help prevent kennel cough. Avoid taking your dog to places where there are a lot of dogs, such as dog parks or pet stores, especially if your dog has not been vaccinated or is immunocompromised.
Healthy Lifestyle: Keeping your dog healthy can also help prevent kennel cough. Make sure your dog is up-to-date on all their vaccinations and maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine. A healthy immune system can help fight off infections, including kennel cough.