Kennel cough is a contagious respiratory condition found in dogs. Kennel cough can be caused by different agents, including the parainfluenza birus, mycoplasma and Bordetella bronchiseptica. This disease is called kennel cough because it can spread quickly among dogs at shelters or in kennels.
The agents that cause Kennel Cough become airborne and spread when dogs cough or sneeze. It is also possible for a dog to contract the disease after being in contact with an infected surface. It is not uncommon for an animal to remain contagious weeks after the symptoms have disappeared, which is why it is difficult for kennels and shelters to keep outbreaks under control.
The incubation period typically lasts between three and four days. Symptoms including vomiting clear fluid and what appears to be gagging-spells but is actually coughing. Some dogs have a harsh and dry cough, sneeze, snort, gag a lot and vomit after exercising or due to light pressure on their trachea.
If your dog has any of these symptoms, start by making sure it does not have anything stuck in its throat. Open its mouth carefully and peer down its throat. It is best to take your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible if you observe kennel cough symptoms. You should also take your pet to a veterinarian if it has been in contact with other dogs who suffer from kennel cough.
How to treat kennel cough depends on the symptoms of your dog and on its age. A young puppy will be more likely to develop another sickness since its immune system is already weakened from the kennel cough. Therefore, the treatment will probably include antibiotics to fight any infections. If your dog has a stronger immune system, your veterinarian will probably recommend a few different treatments for the different symptoms but will not prescribe any medication.
If your veterinarian finds that your dog suffers from an infection, antibiotics will be prescribed. Ask your veterinarian about the dosage and find out for how long you need to give your dog antibiotics. Monitor your pet's behavior while they follow this treatment and get in touch with your veterinarian right away if you notice anything unusual.
Cough syrup can help attenuate the cough if your dog has a harsh and dry cough. Keep in mind that you should never give cough syrup to your dog without discussing it with your veterinarian first. You should only give your dog a children's cough syrup and never give it more than a spoonful. Robitussin DM and other similar cough syrup do not contain any ingredients that would be dangerous for your dog.
Steam can help clear up your dog's airways. Let some hot water run in your shower and let your dog breathe in the steam for a few minutes. Avoid bathing your dog since being wet might make it cold and worsen the symptoms. Spending a few minutes in a hot and steamy bathroom should help reduce the coughing.
You can boost your dog's immune system to help it recover faster. How to treat kennel cough with vitamins and supplements depend on what your veterinarian thinks is best for your dog. You can use supplements such as wild berry bark, peppermint, yerba santa or raw honey. You can also add ground vitamin C to your dog's water.
Kennel cough usually lasts ten days but complications can make it last for up to twenty days. Don't hesitate to go back to the vet if the symptoms don't disappear after ten days or if they worsen. Your veterinarian might decide to put your dog under antibiotics if other remedies are not working or if new symptoms indicate that your dog is developing an infection.
Your dog should remain isolated so it does not pass on kennel cough to other animals. Keep in mind that a dog with kennel cough can remain contagious for weeks after the symptoms have disappeared. If you own more than one dog, it is very likely that they will all need to be treated for kennel cough if one of them catches the disease. The virus can be passed on to cats and to some small mammals but not to humans.
Kennel cough can be prevented by having your pet vaccinated. You should talk to your veterinarian about vaccination. It is best to vaccinate your dog if it might encounter the virus, for instance in dog parks or at a dog training class. However, it is still possible for a vaccinated dog to contract a mutated strand of the kennel cough or to catch a milder case. Vaccination is valid for a whole year so you will have to schedule regular appointments with your veterinarian to renew the vaccine.
You can also prevent kennel cough by keeping your dog away from places where it might become exposed to the virus. If you want to take your dog to a training class or to a kennel, choose an establishment that requires a proof of vaccination. You should also make sure the kennel you choose is clean and that cages are disinfected on a regular basis.
If you recently adopted a dog from a shelter, you should know that these dogs are more likely to develop kennel cough. It is best to take your new pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible to make sure it is in good health and get a vaccination against kennel cough. If the dog you recently adopted has symptoms of kennel cough, take it to the veterinarian to find out what kind of treatment is best.
How to treat kennel cough depends on the symptoms of your dog. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned in this article and have ruled out the possibility that your dog might have something stuck in its throat, you need to take your dog to a veterinarian as quickly as possible. Your veterinarian will examine your dog and recommend the best treatment for your dog. Keep an eye on your dog for the next few weeks and take it to the veterinarian again if the symptoms worsen.