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Is Kennel Cough Contagious?

Is Kennel Cough Contagious?

What is kennel cough? Is it contagious to humans and other pets? Here is detailed information on kennel cough symptoms and treatment.
Madhura Pandit
Last Updated: Feb 23, 2018
Kennel cough, also known as canine cough, is a common cold-like disease found in dogs and cats. It is a respiratory disease characterized by inflammation of the respiratory tract, and is also known as infectious tracheobronchitis. It is a fairly common disease and can be found in dogs of all age groups.

Kennel Cough in Dogs

It can be caused due to a variety of viruses like canine adenovirus, canine parainfluenza virus, canine distemper, etc. Similarly, bacteria like Bordetella bronchiseptica can also be one of the causes. Kennel cough is a highly contagious disease and is spread through air. When an infected dog coughs or sneezes, the virus or the bacteria mixes with the air. When a healthy dog comes in contact with a dog suffering from the infection, he too gets infected.

➡ It is highly contagious as it is an airborne disease, i.e., transmitted through the air. Specially, the one caused by bacteria is more contagious than the other types.

➡ The kennel cough contagious period can be from 2 - 3 weeks. It is contagious as long as the dog shows symptoms, i.e., as long as the disease is present. Therefore, it is essential to keep the infected dogs isolated for the stipulated period.

➡ As it is an airborne disease, cats can also get infected with kennel cough. Although cats do not show symptoms like cough, they can have a runny nose and fever.

➡ There are high chances of kennel cough being contagious to people who are in close contact with the infected pet. On the other hand, people with a weakened immune system, like babies, children or old people are at a higher risk of contracting the disease.

Symptoms and Treatment

The symptoms appear within 5 - 10 days on exposure and can last for nearly 2 - 3 weeks. They are similar to those of common cold, like dry and harsh cough, fever, sneezing, and snorting. Along with these, other symptoms like retching, vomiting, nausea, anorexia, etc., are also observed. During this time, the trachea of the dogs becomes very sensitive, and even a slight pressing caused due to pressure of the collar or exercise can lead to vomiting.

Kennel cough can progress into pneumonia or other respiratory complications in case of puppies or very old dogs. Therefore, one needs to be very careful in this case. Although the symptoms subside after a few days, it is essential to take medications. Bacterial infection can be treated with antibiotics. One should also remember that prevention of kennel cough is possible through vaccination against all the aforementioned virus. Disinfecting kennels and keeping the dog away from other infected dogs helps in preventing the spread of this disease.

The kennel cough contagious period is quite long, and hence, it is better to take certain precautions to keep off the occurrence of this disease. Maintaining hygiene and vaccination are the only effective means of preventing kennel cough in pets as well as in humans. If you see the slightest symptoms of infection in your pet, it is better to take him to the vet as soon as possible.
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