What is Kennel Cough?
Kennel cough (also known as Bordetella bronchiseptica) is a contagious respiratory disease caused by the bacterium B. bronchiseptica bacteria. Dogs are susceptible to contracting this infection if they come into contact with infected animals or contaminated environments such as shelters, animal hospitals, pet shops and other places where dogs are kept. There have been cases reported from all over the world including USA, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. The most common symptom of kennel cough is coughing fits which may last for days or even weeks. Other signs include severe shortness of breath, fever and vomiting.
How Is Kennel Cough Diagnosed?
A veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination to diagnose the cause of your dog’s illness. If the vet suspects that your dog has kennel cough then it will be diagnosed by laboratory tests. The lab test results will confirm whether your dog is suffering from kennel cough or not.
Treatment Options For Kennel Cough
There are various types of treatments available for kennel cough. These include antibiotics, anti-viral drugs and antifungal medications.
If your dog has this condition then you should consult a veterinarian about the appropriate treatment method.
How Long Does It Take For Kennel Cough To Go Away?
Most dogs with kennel cough recover within two weeks however some dogs may develop complications which may require a long-term recovery period and in some cases hospitalization.
Can You Get Kennel Cough From Dogs?
People cannot get infected with kennel cough from dogs directly. People can get infected with this disease from inhaling the bacteria after coming in contact with mucus, phlegm, urine or feces of infected dogs.
How To Prevent Your Dog From Getting Kennel Cough
The best way to prevent your dog from getting kennel cough is to make sure that they are vaccinated against it. Since dogs become susceptible to this disease immediately after being vaccinated, it is best to wait for two weeks before taking your dog to a public place.
How To Prevent Kennel Cough From Spreading
Kennel cough spreads when an uninfected dog comes into contact with mucus, phlegm, urine or feces of an infected dog. It can also spread through contaminated food and water bowls as well as clothing and hands.
To prevent the disease from spreading you should make sure that all equipment that may come into contact with other dogs is thoroughly washed and disinfected. You should also avoid taking your dog to any place where there are a lot of dogs for at least two weeks after being vaccinated.
Dealing With Kennel Cough In Your Area
Kennel cough is a problem in most pet owners’ lives at some point or another. If you have a large dog population in your area then there is a good chance that someone may bring the disease over to your place.
If this occurs then it is best to keep your dog away from the rest of the pack for at least two weeks after being vaccinated as a precaution. Kennel cough is very easy to identify and usually only requires a course of antibiotics to clear up. A visit to the vet may be required to determine the best medication depending on the severity of your dog’s condition.
Kennel Cough Prevention Tips
Here are some tips that may help you to prevent kennel cough from infecting your dog:
1. Your dog should be kept up-to-date with its vaccines.
2. Vaccinate your dog immediately if it hasn’t done so when exposed to other dogs with the disease.
3. Separate your dog from other dogs immediately and consult a vet for diagnosis and treatment.
4. Make sure that all utensils that may come into contact with your dog are thoroughly cleaned.
5. Keep your dog away from any place where there are a large number of dogs for at least two weeks after being vaccinated.
6. If your dog exhibits symptoms such as persistent cough, runny nose, fever or loss of appetite you should take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Kennel Cough In Dogs: Pictures Of Symptoms And Treatment Options
If your dog is suffering from any of these conditions, you should seek professional medical attention as soon as possible.
1. Sticky Eyes
The eyes of a dog with kennel cough may be sticky and display mucus or pus. The dog may rub its eyes with its front paws.
The dog may sneeze a lot as part of the allergic reaction that causes kennel cough.
Coughed up mucus is one of the main symptoms of this disease, and is caused by inflammation of the trachea and bronchi as the dog fights off the infection.
The immune system response can also affect the digestive system, causing diarrhea or even vomiting.
5. Lack of Appetite
With so many other symptoms, a lack of appetite may also be evident in dogs with kennel cough.
The coughing and sneezing of kennel cough can also cause a rise in the dog’s body temperature.
7. General Unwellness
Dogs with kennel cough often display general malaise and lack of energy as their bodies fight the disease.
Kennel Cough In Dogs: Treatment Options
If you think that your dog has kennel cough you should seek veterinary attention immediately. The vet will be able to confirm the disease through a series of tests and then prescribe a treatment option to suit your dog’s needs.
Treatment may involve rest and keeping the dog away from other dogs, or it may require medication to soothe irritated airways. Antibiotics will also be given to lessen the possibility of secondary infection.
Kennel Cough In Dogs: Prevention Tips
There is no real way of preventing your dog from contracting kennel cough. However, it is very important that you keep your dog’s vaccinations up to date.
The vaccines for kennel cough are generally combined with other common vaccinations.
Getting your dog’s regular vaccinations means that its immune system is stronger and better prepared to fight off disease.
2. Isolate New Dog
If you acquire a new dog you should keep it isolated from your other dogs until you are sure that it is not carrying a disease.
3. Quarantine New Items
If you bring new items into your home you should keep them separate from the rest of your belongings and let them stand for a while before introducing them to the rest of your stuff.
4. General Cleanliness
Maintaining good general cleanliness around the house will help you to avoid any cross-contamination of germs.
5. Avoid Mass Animal “Homes”
If you take your dog with you when you go looking for a new pet to bring home, try to avoid establishments that house a large number of animals in one place. Kennels, zoos and animal shelters are likely places to find your next pet, but they also are at a higher risk of potential disease.
6. Ask About Vaccinations
Before you buy a dog, remember to ask the owner about vaccinations. If the dog is not up to date with its jabs then you need to think very carefully about getting it home.
7. Quarantine New Pets
Should you bring a new pet into your house, keep it away from the rest of your animals and observe it for signs of disease for at least a week.
8. Regular Vet Checks
Make sure that you get your pet checked out by a veterinarian on a regular basis. This is the only way that diseases can be caught before they spread or cause major problems.
Kennel Cough In Dogs: After The Outbreak
After your dog (or dogs) have gone through a kennel cough outbreak, you may notice some after effects. Some of these may include:
1. Loss Of Appetite
Just as with humans, diseases like kennel cough can sometimes cause a loss of appetite in dogs.
2. Weight Loss
If your dog is not eating, it is going to start losing weight. This can accelerate the negative effects of kennel cough considerably.
3. Difficulty Breathing
Long after a bout of kennel cough, some dogs may continue to suffer from shortness of breath. This is because the irritation in the lungs caused by the disease can take several months to heal and in some cases may not heal at all.
4. Persistent Coughing
Just as some humans suffer from a chronic cough long after they have recovered from a bout of pneumonia, dogs can suffer in the same way. This is mainly due to the fact that the cough is the only way that their bodies can expel mucus and other irritants from the lungs and so it is likely to continue until all irritants are gone or the lining of the lungs heals.
5. Respiratory Failure
In some rare cases dogs do not survive long-term complications of kennel cough. These can include respiratory failure caused by lung damage and pneumonia.
This is the worst case scenario and unfortunately it does happen from time to time even when owners follow all of the advice in this article and take their pet’s health very seriously.
Sources & references used in this article: