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What is Kennel Cough

What is Kennel Cough

The article covered below contains information related to kennel cough and how is it treated. If you are a dog owner, the following information will prove to be a useful read. It will help you learn if your dog is truly showing signs of kennel cough or just a common cold.
Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
You may have heard your dog cough or seen him sneeze. This makes you wonder why dogs get cold? There are many respiratory illnesses that a dog can fall prey to. One of the most contagious respiratory diseases in dogs is kennel cough. You may not think of kennel cough as a serious illness after you observe its initial signs. If you do not treat your dog early on, it may lead to serious complications.

Kennel Cough in Dogs
If you hear your dog coughing constantly in a hacking or noisy way, as if something is stuck down his throat, it maybe a sign of kennel cough. Experts have recently started referring to the condition as canine infectious tracheobronchitis. Kennel cough is caused by many viruses and bacteria that are airborne. However, most cases of kennel cough are caused by the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica. This is an upper respiratory system infection that can also be called viral agents that cause canine adenovirus infection, canine distemper, canine parainfluenza virus infection or canine respiratory coronavirus infection. It is possible for the dog to be infected with Bordetella as well as a virus at the same time. This infection tends to spread more commonly in dogs who are kept in closed confined quarters of a kennel. Thus, it is known as kennel cough in dogs.

Dogs kept in closed quarters tend to catch the virus and bacteria causing kennel cough through air. Once the bacteria or virus is inhaled, it enters the respiratory tract of the dog. Here, the infectious agent leads to inflammation of the larynx and trachea. Poor ventilation, crowded kennels, low temperature, stress due to excessive traveling, exposure to dust and cigarette smoke, etc. cause a dog to become more susceptible to a kennel cough infection. Once an infection occurs, you will begin to see typical symptoms of kennel cough as follows:
  • Hacking cough is a typical symptom that sounds like a dry cough. You will feel as if the dog is about to throw up and the sound tends to resonate within his body.
  • Phlegm thrown out of the dog's body appears yellowish in color. This causes a gagging sound from the throat. In case of dry cough, one may not observe phlegm production in the dog.
  • Fever is always present when the dog suffers from kennel cough. If one finds rise in dog's body temperature with dry, hacking cough, take the dog to the vet.
  • Lethargy is the sign that shows the dog is sick. The pet tends to become less active and spends most of his time sleeping.
  • Conjunctivitis may occur in a few dogs suffering from kennel cough.
  • Flu-like symptoms that include dog cold symptoms may also be seen.
  • Loss of appetite may also occur, as the dog feels unwell.
In most cases, mild and uncomplicated cases of kennel cough resolve on its own. It takes about a week or two for the symptoms to subside. You need to take your dog to a vet who may provide medication and cough suppressants, which provide symptomatic relief to the dog. In case the infection is due to the bacterial infection, the veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics like the trimethoprim-sulfonamide combination, Clavamox, etc. At home, you should provide plenty of rest to the dog. Provide him with a warm blanket and make sure he is not under any kind of stress. Do not use a dog collar for a few days. If you have to, restrain him from using a body harness. Feed him soft, mushy food and give him plenty of fresh, clean water to drink. Place a humidifier or vaporizer around the dogs sleeping area. If you find the dog suffering from rapid breathing, uneasiness or continuous coughing, take him to the veterinarian immediately.

Remember, kennel cough is very contagious and can spread to other animals from an infected dog easily. However, Bordetella may infect people who are immunocompromised. Thus, although the chances of transfer of the infection from the dog to humans are slim, one should exert caution when it comes to infants and older people with weak immune system. Hope the above information was useful to you in understanding this infectious upper respiratory tract illness in dogs.