Kennel Cough: Symptoms & Treatment

The most heart-melting look is the look full of innocence, pity, and pain. When someone looks directly into your eyes, while pouring full bucket of these emotions out of it, you cannot help think, “Aww… what puppy eyes!” Of course, what else could be a more perfect expression to refer to such kind of a look? Moreover, the importance of this statement couldn’t be understood better than the ones, who own their own little puppies, and get to see these puppy-expressions, when their beloved pets are not well. Talking of their illnesses, one of the reasons that can keep your pet down is Kennel Cough.

Like in human race, canine world has its own share of contagious diseases. Kennel cough, in medical terms known as “Infectious Tracheobronchitis”, is one such common respiratory disease that easily spreads to healthy dogs, when they come in a close contact with the infected ones. The most likely places, from where they can catch this disease, are kennels, veterinary hospitals, canine boarding facilities, dog fairs, etc.

When the infected dog comes in contact with a healthy dog, the infected dog’s viruses and bacteria are passed on to the healthy one through air by his sneezing and coughing, or even by shared contact with contaminated surfaces, e.g. eating from the same bowl. Kennel cough is so contagious that even many weeks after the symptoms have disappeared; the previously infected dog still can pass on the bacteria.

Kennel cough can be quite a testing period for both, the dogs as well as their human friends. This is said so, because once the dog has contracted this infection, it will start showing symptoms like coughing (hacking) after every few seconds. In most of the instances this coughing will be dry, however in some cases it can also hack up phlegm and vomit. There will be constant sneezing, snorting, gagging, and retching. Some dogs can also catch fever, but it varies from dog to dog. Even though the disease initially lasts for 2-3 weeks, it can reappear in case the dog is exposed to any kind of stressful situation or when stress is put on his immune system.

Kennel cough doesn’t have any adverse impact over dog’s activity level, appetite, or general attitude, however, the cough produced can be harsh, forceful, and loud on our ears, sometime inducing dry heaves. One thing must be noticed that if nasal discharge, lethargy, anorexia, or any other signs of illness are apparent, it must be considered something more serious than just a cough.

Since prevention is always better than treatment, one must get their dogs vaccinated for canine adenovirus, distemper, parainfluenza, and bordetella. Dog’s bed, cages, toys, bowls, etc. must be disinfected. In case of boarding facilities, dogs must not be taken in without proof of vaccination. As for the treatment, even though it is noticed that in most cases the dogs self-recover in 5 to 20 days, the treatment shouldn’t be avoided, since excessive coughing can damage trachea. Kennel cough can be dealt with antibiotics for the bacterial infection. Cough suppressants also can be an option if it’s a dry cough. Common medications for cough control are Hydrocodone and Butorphanol.

If taken proper care of, your pet will still flash his puppy-looks… but in a more spirited way!

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