Kennel Cough

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What exactly is kennel cough?

Kennel cough is a highly contagious viral and bacterial infection that causes inflammation to occur in a dog’s voice box and windpipe.

What are the symptoms?

Kennel cough is a dry hacking cough accompanied by a “honking” sound. It is similar to when humans have a dry persistent cough.

How is it spread?

Dogs with frequent interaction with other dogs, especially in tight quarters with poor ventilation are most susceptible to this infection. The most common causes that trigger this infection are Bordetella bronchiseptica, parainfluenza virus and mycoplasma.

How is it prevented?

Let’s talk about vaccination. If the dog already has kennel cough a vaccination will not be useful. Puppies as early as four weeks old can be vaccinated for kennel cough. There are two ways the veterinarian can administer the vaccine. The shot takes a bit longer to take effect while the intranasal has the quickest effect and is recommended for immediate pet contact situations.

Another prevention method is limiting your dog’s exposure to other dogs especially puppies that are not vaccinated. If you have vacation on your mind it may be wise to look for a boarding facility that require distemper and bordetella vaccines. These vaccines help prevent the transmission of some of the agents that cause kennel cough.

How long does it last?

The duration of this infection commonly last three weeks. However, puppies and elderly dogs may be stuck with this infection for an upwards of six weeks. Puppies and elderly dogs will take a harder hit, as a puppy’s immune system is not yet fully developed and an elderly dog has decreased immune capacities.

Treatment

If the infected dog is alert and has only minor symptoms that go along with the cough then he will usually go untreated. The infection will be left to run its course just as humans usually let the common cold run its course with no medical intervention. But, if the dog is showing other symptoms such as a fever, isn’t eating well and is displaying difficulty breathing that is when antibiotics most likely will be prescribed. Antibiotics are prescribed in this case, since the listed symptoms may be an indicator of pneumonia. It is always best to check with your veterinarian prior to making any decision.