Kennel cough is named so, because infection mainly starts from contaminated dog kennels. It is a contagious disease common among dogs. It is characterized by inflammation in the upper respiratory system. It is also referred to as tracheobronchitis. It is mainly caused due to infection by the bacteria, Bordetella bronchiseptica. In addition, viruses such as canine adenovirus, canine respiratory coronavirus, canine distemper virus, and canine parainfluenza virus are also responsible for causing this condition in dogs.
How it Spreads
It is spread through direct contact or through contact with any contaminated surface. It is an air-borne disease and is spread when the infected dog coughs or sneezes. It is to be noted that cats, rabbits, and other pet animals can also be infected with it. Recent studies have shown that children as well as adults with a compromised immune system are at high risk of bacterial infection associated with this cough.
Symptoms are dry cough, sneezing, snorting, and a watery nasal discharge. Sometimes, they include vomiting and lethargy. Usually, the symptoms are observed after four to five days of exposure, and the illness may last for three weeks. Very young puppies and dogs with low immune systems are more prone to severe kennel cough. This condition is diagnosed based on the symptoms and physical examination. For confirmation, X-ray imaging, blood tests, and bacterial culture or viral isolation can be done.
Home Treatment Guide
Treatment is essential as it may otherwise lead to other dog health problems such as fever, pneumonia, and even death in severe cases. Treatment is usually done with home remedies and medications. If the dog is having a mild cough and has a normal appetite, then you can use home treatments. Medications such as cough suppressants, bronchodilators, and antibiotics along with aerosol therapy are recommended. Let's see some of the natural remedies for treatment of this cough.
A dog experiencing this cough should get maximum rest and sleep. Make sure that you keep it warm, comfortable, and free of irritants such as smoke and dust. For prevention of throat swelling, you can use a humidifier to keep the air moist and humid. However, take care that the humidity doesn't exceed 50%.
Homeopathic products available in the market are also included in home treatments. Take care while choosing the homeopathic product; it is advisable to check its ingredients before feeding it to your sick dog. You can consult with your vet about effective homeopathic treatments.
Giving a vaporizing treatment to the infected dog, two to three times a day, will help in quick recovery. You can do this by running a hot shower in the bathroom with the door closed. Take the dog in and let it inhale steam for about 20 minutes. This will help in clearing the excess mucus in the nasal passages and bronchial tubes.
Another effective natural remedy is feeding the infected dog with soft food and encouraging it to drink ample amounts of water. This will help in flushing the excess mucus and will give relief from cough.
Care should be taken regarding the type of dog food that you feed the sick dog. Supplementing your pet's diet with vitamins will help strengthen its immune system, which is necessary for fighting off the infection. Along with feeding vitamin-rich foods, you can include vitamin C tablets of the recommended dose three times a day in your dog's diet.
Giving three teaspoons of honey a day will help in soothing your sick dog's inflamed throat and in treating the cough. You can feed your dog honey mixed into its meal or a bowl of warm water.
Studies have revealed that wild cherry bark, which has an astringent property, helps in alleviating the cough and soothes the throat irritation. You can make use of wild cherry tea, tincture, or syrups that are available in the market. Other natural remedies include licorice tea, peppermint, sage leaves, ginger, tulsi leaf extract, and coconut oil.
It is advisable to remove the dog collar, as pressure to the trachea and throat would worsen the cough. In addition, proper vaccination of the dog and regular disinfection of the kennel is recommended to prevent kennel cough.
Always consult and seek advice from a vet before following the treatments. Proper dog care is crucial to your pet's health. Check for any changes in your dog's behavior; after all, it's the pet owner who is responsible for the dog's health and fitness.