When people talk of kennel cough, it refers to a dry cough that dog can get in places of great canine population such as nurseries, dog parks, pet shops, exhibitions, shelters or kennels as its name implies. But reality is more than just a cough, it is a series of viral and bacterial infections caused by the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica and parainfluenza viruses, which affect the respiratory system of dogs.
The infection is contacted and spreads via aerosols, through sneezing, coughing, mucus or saliva. It can be direct, as when meeting with another dog, or indirect, in contact with toys, and other belongings of the infected dog. It is treated as a cold in humans. Although in most cases, the disease will heal itself in about three weeks, it could turn into pneumonia if the dog is not treated on time. In the worst cases, it can be fatal. Puppies and dogs without vaccination are more likely to be infected. It is a highly contagious disease, but does not spread to humans.
Symptoms of Kennel Cough
The most obvious symptom is a dry, persistent cough. Although the cough may worsen if the dog gets excited too much or is exercising more than usual, generally the dog looks healthy despite of the disease. The appetite and energy level do not necessarily change. Other symptoms include fever and runny nose.
If you notice that your dog is coughing, loss of appetite, lethargy or runny nose, take it to the vet. The veterinarian will examine the dog and could recommend dog isolation and rest without providing any medicine.
On the other hand, it may prescribe a cough inhibitor or antibiotics. After treatment, the dog begins to improve in about a week. Avoid home remedies and return to the vet if there is no improvement.
Prevention and Treatment for Kennel Cough
The Bordetella vaccination cannot prevent the contract of kennel cough, but will alleviate the severity of the disease in case of contracting it.
The parainfluenza and adenovirus vaccines present in the kennel cough are also required for all dogs. If you plan to enroll your dog in a nursery, they will not accept without test of these vaccines. Every dog is potentially exposed if you visit places with large populations of dogs, so ensure the places are hygienic and have good ventilation.
Infected dogs should be isolated that includes yours. If your dog is sick, or you notice an unusual change in mood and suspect it might be pregnant, you should keep away from other pets and disinfect pets’ all belongings in the household. The infected dog should have a comfortable, safe and quiet place to rest. Note that a dog is infectious even if it remains asymptomatic. To deal with emergency situation and relief, you must enough knowhow about what can you give a dog for pain to ease the situation for the time being.