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What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough is a relatively common condition in dogs, particularly when dogs are in close contact with one another, such as in kennels, dog shows, or parks. The incidence of kennel cough can vary depending on the area and time of year, with outbreaks more common during winter. But what is it exactly, and how can it be treated?

Kennel cough, or canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a respiratory infection in dogs caused by several viruses and bacteria. It is highly contagious and is spread through contact with infected dogs, such as in kennels, dog parks, or other social settings. Symptoms of kennel cough include a dry, hacking cough, sneezing, nasal discharge, and sometimes a low-grade fever. Most cases of kennel cough resolve independently, but treatment may be necessary in severe cases or dogs with weakened immune systems.

What is Kennel Cough? 

Kennel cough is caused by a highly contagious bacteria known as infectious tracheobronchitis. This indicates a tracheal infection that has now caused inflammation. The bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica causes this disease. This bacterium attacks the respiratory tract’s cilia lining. When bacteria attack the lining, the upper airways become inflamed. This inflammation is the source of your dog’s cough. While kennel cough can occur at any time of year, it is more common in the summer.

What Causes Kennel Cough in Dogs?

By contacting an infected animal directly, your dog can contract kennel cough. This could happen while boarding, grooming, or playing at the dog park with other dogs. Because the cough spreads quickly, this disease is known as kennel cough. If one dog arrives at a boarding kennel with a cough, it can soon spread to all other dogs. Kennel cough can also be transmitted to your dog through contaminated objects such as water and food bowls. This highly contagious disease affects puppies and unvaccinated dogs the most.

What are the Symptoms of Kennel Cough? 

The symptoms of kennel cough are similar to those of many other diseases. Your veterinarian will examine your dog and take a thorough history. Inform your veterinarian of any interactions with other dogs. Kennel cough is more common in dogs who have recently boarded or visited dog parks.

A Chronic Cough

Kennel cough causes a persistent cough in dogs. They may be gagging. This cough will last throughout the day and night. Most dogs with kennel cough have trouble sleeping because they are awake all night coughing. This could also be keeping you awake. If your dog constantly coughs, it is best to take them to the vet. Your veterinarian can assist you in determining the cause of their coughing.

A Honking Cough

Some will also make a goose-honking sound. This is a very typical case of kennel cough. This goose-honking cough can cause tracheal irritation and pain in your dog. If the cough is not treated early in the disease’s progression, your dog may develop a secondary infection.

It is possible that symptoms will not appear for up to ten days after infection.

After coming into contact with one, it may take a few days for your dog to show signs of kennel cough. Most dogs will start showing symptoms about ten days after infection.

How is Kennel Cough Diagnosed and Treated?

Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if your dog exhibits these symptoms. Your veterinarian will check for various potential causes of coughing, including heartworm disease and cancer.

Typically, no medication is given to a dog with kennel cough. Your veterinarian may occasionally give them a cough suppressant to help them sleep by calming their coughing. Kennel cough, like human cough, usually goes away on its own.

Take your dog to the veterinarian if they have a green nasal discharge and are lethargic. To ensure your dog has not developed a secondary infection, your veterinarian may perform chest X-rays and blood tests. At that point, your veterinarian will administer antibiotics to your dog to prevent them from developing dreadful pneumonia.

Dogs with kennel cough should be separated from other dogs to help prevent the spread of the disease. During their illness, your dog should not have any contact with other dogs.

Some cases necessitate extended treatment, but most infections clear up within one to three weeks. Mild clinical signs may persist for several weeks after eradicating the bacteria. Cough suppressants and anti-inflammatory medications may provide temporary relief but are not always necessary. Your veterinarian will determine the best treatment options for your dog.

How Can Kennel Cough Be Prevented?

There are numerous ways to keep your dog from getting a kennel cough. One method is to limit their contact with unvaccinated dogs. This will significantly slow the spread of the disease. Vaccinating your dog against this disease is another excellent way to keep your dog safe from kennel cough.

Most vaccination programs recommended by your veterinarian will include adenovirus and parainfluenza. Bordetella vaccination is also strongly advised for dogs boarded, groomed, or interacting with other dogs in places like dog parks.

Bordetella vaccination is also strongly advised for dogs boarded, groomed, or interacting with other dogs in places like dog parks.

Vaccinations Against Kennel Cough

Three types of vaccines are available to protect your dog from kennel cough. Your dog can get an injection just like they do for all of its other shots. There is also an intranasal vaccine available. This vaccine will inject a liquid into your dog’s nose to protect them from kennel cough. Because some dogs dislike the drops in their nose, they create an oral liquid they can drink. These vaccines work the same way to keep your dog safe from kennel cough.

This vaccine, like any other, does not guarantee that your dog will not get kennel cough. If your dog contracts kennel cough, it will recover much more quickly. CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory that can alleviate some of the symptoms your dog may be experiencing.

How are Bordetella Vaccines Given?

Bordetella vaccination is administered via injection, oral administration, or intranasal administration. The liquid vaccine administered as nose drops are known as intra-nasal. The oral vaccine is injected into the cheek pouch directly. This allows for local immunity on the mucous membranes of the nose, throat, and windpipe, where infectious agents first attack, and provides faster protection against infection than the injectable vaccine.

How Effective Are Vaccines? 

Even if the dog has had a natural infection, immunity is neither solid nor long-lasting. Vaccines are unlikely to fare much better. Because immunity varies depending on the situation, consult your veterinarian for specific vaccination recommendations for your dog. Some kennel facilities require a booster vaccination before boarding, and some veterinarians recommend one every six months to ensure maximum protection against this troublesome infection.

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