Kennel Cough is a term used to describe a very common ailment in dogs that involves infection and inflammation in the upper respiratory system. It is very contagious, and many dogs will experience it over the course of their lifetime. Therefore, it is important to know exactly what you could be dealing with.
- Causes: The causes of Kennel Cough can be a variety of infectious agents, with many of them attacking at once. The most common are the parainfluenza virus, the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica, and mycoplasma. Other possible agents are canine adenovirus-2, reovirus, and canine herpes virus. These viruses and bacteria are very contagious, and spread between dogs very easily.
- Symptoms: The main symptoms, and often the only symptoms, of Kennel Cough are dry coughing and hacking, often described as a “honking” sound. This is sometimes accompanied by excess phlegm as well. Severe cases of Kennel Cough are associated with fever, weariness, and loss of appetite.
- Prognosis: Kennel Cough is usually a mild disease and your dog is typically able to continue with normal activities. The disease will generally run its course and go away in a few weeks. More severe cases could last longer and should be treated by a veterinarian.
- Treatment and Prevention: The first thing you should do for any dog with Kennel Cough is isolate him from other dogs. For mild cases, there is usually no need for treatment, but you should still take your dog to the veterinarian. There are a few things you can do to help make your dog more comfortable:
- Don’t use a neck collar, as your dog’s neck will be sore. Use a harness instead.
- Try not to expose your dog to irritants, such as cigarette smoke or excessive dust.
- To help soothe your dog’s throat, you can try using a humidifier or letting him into the bathroom as you shower.
- You may want to consider using a cough suppressant. Talk to your veterinarian before doing this so that you can select the proper formula and dose.
If your dog’s Kennel Cough is more serious, you should talk to your veterinarian about treatment options. These will usually involve antibiotics.
To prevent Kennel Cough, you should first and foremost keep your dog away from other potentially sick dogs. Other than that, there are some vaccines that can reduce the chance of contracting Kennel Cough for up to six months. You should talk to your veterinarian about these options.