11 March 2022
Don’t be surprised if your dog contracts kennel cough no matter how seriously you believe you’ve been taking care of your pet. There’s a highly likely chance your pet dog may have caught the disease at places where many canines congregate such as dog parks, boarding and doggy daycare facilities, training groups, and dog shows.
Like human colds, kennel cough can have a variety of causes. A bacterium called Bordetella bronchisepticam is one of the most common reasons for kennel cough, which is why it is called Bordetella. In addition to being infected with Bordetella, most dogs are also infected with another virus simultaneously. The following viruses make dogs more likely to contract Bordetella infection: canine adenovirus, canine distemper virus, canine herpes virus, parainfluenza virus, or canine reovirus.
Inhaling bacteria or viruses into the respiratory tract can cause dogs to catch kennel cough. Typically, the trachea and larynx are lined with mucus which traps infectious particles. However, several factors can weaken this protection and make dogs more susceptible to kennel cough, which results in inflammation of the larynx.
A persistent, forceful cough is the classic kennel cough symptom. The cough is often similar to a goose honk. In addition, some dogs, especially young ones, make a cough-like sound that is called a reverse sneeze. Certain dogs and breeds can reverse sneeze, and it usually tells us that there is a post-nasal drip or irritation of the throat.
Dogs with kennel cough may have other symptoms, such as sneezing, runny noses, or eye discharge. However, it is unlikely that your dog will lose their appetite or energy if they have kennel cough.
Much like humans, dogs spread sickness to one another through airborne droplets, direct contact, or contaminated surfaces such as water/food bowls.
Most of the time, kennel cough is not a serious condition; most dogs will recover without treatment. Mild cases of kennel cough are typically treated with one to two weeks of rest. A veterinarian may prescribe cough medication to ease the symptoms and antibiotics to prevent secondary infection.
Symptoms that worsen can indicate a secondary infection, such as bacterial pneumonia. You should consider hospitalization if your dog exhibits breathing difficulties, exercise intolerance, and refuses to eat or drink.
In order to stabilize your dog’s condition and get them to a point where they can continue treatment at home, healthcare professionals will perform oxygen therapy and administer intravenous fluids. Depending on your symptoms, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics, expectorants, and other medications. To monitor their recovery, your dog may also have to return to the hospital for further testing.
Kennel cough can also be treated by a vaccine that is available in injectable, oral, and intranasal forms. Depending on the form, the vaccine is normally initially given in two doses 2-4 weeks apart and followed by a booster every 6-12 months.
If you think your dog might have kennel cough, keep it away from other animals and contact your veterinarian to prevent its potential spread.