How to Identify Kennel Cough Symptoms in Your Dog
If you are a dog owner, you might have heard of kennel cough. Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease that affects dogs. It is called kennel cough because it is commonly spread in places where dogs are housed together, such as boarding facilities or shelters. Kennel cough can be caused by a variety of viruses and bacteria, including the canine parainfluenza virus, canine coronavirus, and Bordetella bronchiseptica.
The primary symptom of kennel cough is a persistent, forceful cough that often sounds like a goose honk. However, kennel cough can also cause other symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, lethargy, loss of appetite, and low fever. If your dog has a persistent cough or any other symptoms, it is important to take them to the vet for an evaluation.
What is Kennel Cough?
Kennel cough, also known as infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious respiratory disease that affects dogs. It is caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria, including the canine parainfluenza virus, canine adenovirus, and Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria. The disease is most commonly spread through contact with other infected dogs, such as in kennels, shelters, or dog parks. However, it can also be spread through the air, such as when an infected dog coughs or sneezes.
The main symptom of kennel cough is a persistent, forceful cough. It often sounds like a goose honk, which is why it is sometimes referred to as “honking cough.” Other symptoms may include a runny nose, sneezing, lethargy, loss of appetite, and low-grade fever. In some cases, the cough may be accompanied by vomiting or gagging.
Kennel cough is usually a mild disease that resolves on its own within a few weeks. However, in some cases, it can lead to more serious complications, such as pneumonia. This is especially true in young puppies, elderly dogs, or dogs with weakened immune systems. Therefore, it is important to take your dog to the vet if you suspect they have kennel cough, especially if they are showing signs of respiratory distress.
Symptoms of Kennel Cough
Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease that affects dogs of all ages and breeds. It is caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria that irritate the lining of the dog’s trachea and bronchi, leading to inflammation and coughing. Here are some of the most common symptoms of kennel cough:
- A persistent, dry cough that may sound like a honking goose
- Runny nose
- Loss of appetite
- Fever (in some cases)
The cough caused by kennel cough is usually non-productive, meaning that it doesn’t produce any phlegm or mucus. It can be triggered by excitement, exercise, or pressure on the dog’s trachea, such as when the dog pulls on a leash or drinks water too quickly.
In most cases, kennel cough is a mild disease that resolves on its own within a few days to a few weeks. However, in some cases, it can lead to more serious complications, such as pneumonia, especially in puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with weakened immune systems. If your dog shows any signs of kennel cough, it’s important to take them to the vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Diagnosing Kennel Cough
If you suspect your dog has kennel cough, it is important to seek veterinary attention promptly. Your vet can quickly and easily assess your pet for kennel cough. Usually, a slight massage of your dog’s trachea is all that’s needed to bring out the characteristic coughing. However, in some cases, additional testing may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.
During the examination, your vet will also look for other symptoms of kennel cough, such as a runny nose, sneezing, lethargy, loss of appetite, and low fever. These symptoms can help confirm the diagnosis and rule out other possible causes of your dog’s cough.
In some cases, your vet may also recommend a chest x-ray or blood test to check for any underlying conditions that may be contributing to your dog’s cough. These tests can help your vet develop an appropriate treatment plan for your pet.
It is important to note that kennel cough can be caused by a variety of different viruses and bacteria, and no single test can diagnose all cases of the disease. However, with prompt veterinary attention and appropriate treatment, most dogs with kennel cough make a full recovery within a few weeks.
Treatment for Kennel Cough
If your dog is diagnosed with kennel cough, there are several treatment options available. Mild cases of kennel cough may only require supportive care, which includes rest, nutrition, and hydration. It is important to keep your dog away from other dogs to prevent the spread of the infection.
Antibiotics may be prescribed by your veterinarian if the kennel cough is caused by a bacterial infection. Commonly used antibiotics for kennel cough include doxycycline, amoxicillin, enrofloxacin, and azithromycin. It is important to give the antibiotics as prescribed by your veterinarian and to complete the full course of treatment, even if your dog seems to be feeling better.
Your veterinarian may also prescribe cough suppressants or bronchodilators to help manage your dog’s cough and make them more comfortable. These medications should only be given under the guidance of your veterinarian, as they can have side effects and may not be appropriate for all dogs.
In severe cases of kennel cough, hospitalization may be necessary to provide oxygen therapy and intravenous fluids. Your veterinarian will work with you to determine the best course of treatment for your dog based on their individual symptoms and overall health.
Preventing Kennel Cough
Preventing kennel cough is much easier than treating it. Here are some simple steps you can take to protect your dog from this contagious disease:
- Keep your dog away from other dogs that may be infected with kennel cough.
- Avoid taking your dog to crowded places like dog parks, boarding kennels, and grooming salons.
- Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date, including the kennel cough vaccine. Talk to your vet about the best vaccination schedule for your dog.
- Keep your dog’s living area clean and disinfected. Use a disinfectant that is safe for dogs and follow the instructions carefully.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after handling other dogs, especially if they are sick.
By following these simple steps, you can greatly reduce the risk of your dog getting kennel cough. Remember, prevention is always better than cure.