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Symptoms of Kennel Cough in Dogs

Symptoms of Kennel Cough in Dogs

Is your dog suffering from a dry cough? If so, your dog may be suffering from kennel cough. Today, our Stockton vets share some information about this contagious disease and what you should do if your dog suffers from it.

What is Kennel Cough in Dogs?

Kennel cough is a respiratory disease common in dogs. It's usually caused by the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica and the canine parainfluenza virus. These attack the lining of the dog's respiratory tract, causing inflammation and irritation of the dog's upper airway. This condition isn't dangerous in otherwise healthy dogs. But, it can lead to more serious secondary infections in young puppies, senior dogs, or dogs with a weakened immune system.

The term "kennel cough" refers to the contagious nature of this condition. It spreads quickly in places where pets are in close contact with one another, such as kennels, dog parks, and multi-dog homes. Kennel cough spreads when dogs come into contact with droplets from an infected dog. This can happen through direct contact with the infected dog or with objects on which the infected droplets have landed. These include dog toys, bowls, cages, or blankets.

Signs of Kennel Cough in Dogs

The primary symptom of kennel cough is a non-productive and persistent dry cough. It usually sounds like a goose honk or as if something is stuck in your dog's throat. Runny nose, sneezing, lack of energy, decreased appetite, and mild fever are other symptoms.

If your dog exhibits symptoms of kennel cough, keep them away from other dogs. Contact your vet right away for advice.

Because the condition is contagious, your vet may recommend isolating your dog from other dogs. This allows your dog to rest for a few days while you track its symptoms.

On the other hand, if your pup's symptoms are more severe your vet may recommend bringing your pet in for an examination.

How Kennel Cough is Diagnosed

The process of determining kennel cough is a process of elimination. Because kennel cough symptoms share symptoms with many more serious diseases, your vet will examine your pet for a collapsed trachea, heartworm disease, bronchitis, asthma, cancer, heart disease, and other conditions first. Coughing may also show the canine distemper virus or canine influenza virus.

Based on the findings and medical history, your vet will determine whether kennel cough is the most likely cause of your dog's symptoms.

How to Treat Kennel Cough in Dogs

Kennel cough can be treated in healthy adult dogs. Your vet may decide on no medications and that rest is the best treatment while the infection runs its course (much like the human cold).

If your dog experiences more severe symptoms, your vet may prescribe antibiotics to help prevent secondary infections or cough suppressants to help relieve your pup's persistent coughing.

While your pet is healing, it is best to avoid using neck collars and instead use a body harness when out for walks. You might also want to use a humidifier in rooms where your dog spends time, as this can help relieve his symptoms.

The majority of dogs recover from kennel cough in a week or two. If your dog's symptoms persist, you should schedule a follow-up veterinary appointment. Kennel cough can, in some cases, lead to pneumonia.

Protecting Your Dog Against Kennel Cough

If your dog spends a lot of time with other dogs, talk to your vet about vaccinating it against kennel cough. While this vaccine may help to prevent kennel cough, it is not a foolproof solution because kennel cough can be caused by a variety of pathogens.

The vaccine is available in three forms: injection, nasal mist, and oral medication. If your veterinarian recommends the kennel cough vaccine for your pet, he or she will select the most appropriate form.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. If you are concerned about your pet's health, contact your veterinarian right away for diagnosis and treatment.

Is your dog displaying symptoms of kennel cough? Contact us today to book an appointment for your dog.

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American Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Stockton companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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