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Kennel Cough in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Kennel Cough in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Kennel cough can have your dog feeling uncomfortable, with a dry cough in their throat. Today, our Toledo vets share some facts about kennel cough in dogs and what you should do if your pooch contracts this condition. 

What is kennel cough in dogs?

Often referred to as kennel cough, Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis is a respiratory disease that's commonly found in dogs. 

Kennel cough is typically caused by the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica and the canine parainfluenza virus. They attack the lining of a dog's respiratory tract, leading to irritation and inflammation. 

For adult dogs who are otherwise healthy, this condition generally isn't serious. That said, it can cause more serious secondary infections in senior dogs, young puppies or dogs with a weakened immune system. 

The term kennel cough stems from the highly contagious marker of this illness, which helps it spread quickly in areas where pets may closely interact with one another such as kennels, dog parks and multi-dog households. 

Kennel cough is spread when a dog comes into contact with droplets released through an infected dog's cough. This may be through direct contact with an infected dog or through contact with objects that the infected droplets have landed on, such as cages, blankets, bowls or dog toys. 

Kennel Cough Symptoms in Dogs

The main symptom of kennel cough in dogs is a non-productive but persistent dry cough that often sounds like a goose honk, or as if your dog has an object stuck in their throat. 

Other signs of kennel cough in dogs include:

  • Mild fever
  • Lack of energy
  • Runny nose
  • Lack of appetite

If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, separate from other pooches that may be in your home and call your veterinarian immediately for advice. 

This condition is incredibly contagious. If your pooch is otherwise healthy and only exhibiting mild symptoms, your vet may suggest keeping them isolated from other pets and providing your pet with several days' rest as you keep an eye on their symptoms.

Although, if your dog has more severe symptoms your vet might ask you to bring them into the office so they can be examined.

Diagnosing Dogs With Kennel Cough

Diagnosing kennel cough is essentially a process of elimination. Several more serious conditions share the symptoms of kennel cough, as such your vet will examine your pet for signs of collapsing trachea, heartworm disease, bronchitis, asthma, cancer, heart disease, and more. Coughing can also be a sign of canine distemper virus or canine influenza virus.

Based on the results of your pet's examination and medical history your vet will determine whether kennel cough is the likely cause of your pup's symptoms.

How Kennel Cough in Dogs is Treated

It's usually easy to treat healthy adult dogs for kennel cough. Your vet may decide that no medications are required and that the best treatment for your dog is to rest while the infection runs its course (much like the human cold).

Are your dog's symptoms more severe? Your veterinarian might prescribe antibiotics to help prevent secondary infections or cough suppressants to give your pooch a bit of relief from the continuous coughing.

As your dog recovers, it's best to avoid the use of neck collars and use a body harness instead when you are taking them for walks. You might also want to run a humidifier in rooms where your dog spends most of their time because it could help alleviate their symptoms.

It generally takes one or two weeks for dogs to recover from kennel cough. If your canine companion's symptoms continue for longer than this it's essential to schedule a follow-up appointment with your vet. Sometimes, kennel cough can result in pneumonia.

Preventing Kennel Cough in Dogs

If your dog spends a fair amount of time around other dogs talk to your vet about getting your pooch vaccinated against kennel cough. While this vaccine could help prevent kennel cough it doesn't offer 100% prevention because kennel cough could be caused by various pathogens.

Three forms of the vaccine are available injection, nasal mist, and oral medication. If the kennel cough vaccine is recommended for your pet, your veterinarian will choose the most appropriate form.

Symptoms of kennel cough in dogs should be treated seriously. Contact our Toledo vets today to book an exam if your dog is showing signs of this disease. 

Welcoming New Patients

Shoreland Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our veterinary team is passionate about the health of Toledo pets and is looking forward to meeting you and your furry friend. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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