Breathing diseases

How to Treat Kennel Cough in Dogs

Amy McCready
By Amy McCready, Animal rights journalist. Updated: September 18, 2017
How to Treat Kennel Cough in Dogs

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Canine infectious tracheobronchitis, more commonly known as "kennel cough", is a condition that affects the respiratory system of dogs. It usually develops in places with a large number of dogs, such as kennels, hence its name.

Formerly, this disease appeared only in kennels or breeding grounds with inadequate hygienic conditions. However, with the increase of animal protection, abandoned pet shelters, dog walkers and, in general, places with a high concentration of dogs, the pathology has spread more rapidly. It is highly contagious, so catching it is not just dependent on bad hygiene conditions. If you suspect your dog has been infected, continue reading this AnimlaWised article and discover how to treat kennel cough in dogs.

You may also be interested in: My Dog Has a Dry Cough and Gags
  1. What is kennel cough or infectious canine tracheobronchitis?
  2. How is kennel cough spread?
  3. What does kennel cough sound like?
  4. How do you treat kennel cough in dogs?
  5. How to prevent kennel cough
  6. Can humans get kennel cough?

What is kennel cough or infectious canine tracheobronchitis?

Kennel cough is a highly contagious viral disease that is usually caused by the parainfluenza virus (PIC) or the canine adenovirus type 2, agents that weaken the respiratory tract. And, as a consequence, facilitate the entry of opportunistic bacteria such as Bordetella bronchiseptica (Bb). This then produces a bacterial infection and worsens the clinical state of the animal.

In this way, we see how this pathology directly affects the respiratory system, producing an infection that can be more or less serious, depending on the agents that act, the external conditions and the age of the infected dog. To get a better idea of ​​the type of disease we are facing, we could say that kennel cough is very similar to flu in humans.

It is an increasingly common condition among dogs, is not so serious and can be eradicated with simple medical treatment.

How is kennel cough spread?

As we said at the beginning, the most common thing is that the kennel cough develops in places where a large number of dogs live. In these cases, controlling the disease is much more difficult than when dealing with a particular and isolated case. But exactly how is kennel cough spread?

As with the flu, this pathology is transmitted orally and nasally. Once the animal has been infected, the viral agents can be transmitted to another dog during the first two weeks. For the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica the transmission can be extended up to three months. In this way, when a sick patient expels pathogenic germs through respiratory secretions, another healthy one that is close to them can acquire them and develop the disease.

Puppies less than 6 months old are much more susceptible to this disease. Especially if we adopt a dog who has been exposed to significant stressful situations, such as being locked in a cage, we must take special care and carefully observe if they have any of the symptoms listed below.

In kennels, breeding grounds, animal shelters, foster homes with several dogs, etc., it is practically impossible to prevent the disease from spreading rapidly. Therefore, prevention is always the best solution. In the section dedicated to this point we will explain in detail how to prevent kennel cough.

How to Treat Kennel Cough in Dogs - How is kennel cough spread?

What does kennel cough sound like?

Once infected, the dog will begin to experience a series of clearly identifiable symptoms. The most characteristic manifestation of this pathology is the appearance of a dry, hoarse, strong and constant cough, caused by the inflammation of the vocal cords.

In more advanced cases, the cough may be accompanied by a slight expectoration (coughing up and spitting out) of the secretions deposited in the respiratory system by the pathogenic germs. Such expulsion is often mistaken for mild vomiting or a foreign body. If you can, it is advisable to reserve a sample and take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible so that they can examine it. In this way, in addition to analyzing the physical appearance of your dog, they will be able to study the expelled secretion and offer a better diagnosis.

You should know that this moderate vomiting is not caused by stomach problems, remember that this disease only affects the respiratory system. They develop by the same inflammation and irritation of the throat produced by a dry cough.

Sadness, malaise, lack of appetite and energy are other common symptoms of kennel cough in dogs. If you notice that your dog has any of these signs, do not hesitate and go to the vet quickly. Although it is not a serious disease, it does require veterinary treatment to cure it and prevent it from getting worse.

In dogs within kennels or pet stores, exposed to stressful conditions, it is possible that kennel cough can lead to pneumonia.

How to Treat Kennel Cough in Dogs - What does kennel cough sound like?

How do you treat kennel cough in dogs?

In particular cases, the first thing to do is to isolate the sick dog inside the home, in a room only for them for at least seven days, or the time needed to complete the treatment. This step is essential to prevent the spread of disease and contagion in neighboring dogs.

Once isolated, the simplest way to control and eradicate kennel cough is through antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. Depending on the condition of the dog and the progression of the disease, the veterinarian will choose to prescribe one type of medication or another. Since several viral agents can be involved in the development of this pathology, it is practically impossible to determine a standard medical treatment suitable for all cases. It is best to go to your usual veterinary clinic to see a specialist who can determine the best treatment for kennel cough.

In dogs with a low mood and lack of appetite, we must ensure that they consume the minimum amount of water stipulated by the veterinarian to prevent dehydration, dilute secretions deposited in the respiratory tract and favor ventilation.

How to Treat Kennel Cough in Dogs - How do you treat kennel cough in dogs?

How to prevent kennel cough

Undoubtedly, the best way to treat any contagious disease is through prevention. In kennels, it is essential to have adequate hygiene and at least average conditions to preserve the health of dogs. When this fails, pathogens are more likely to develop and begin to spread the disease.

On the other hand, there is a vaccine designed to protect dogs from this particular pathology, the Bb + PIC. However, a kennel cough vaccination is not available in all countries and therefore we cannot always resort to this preventive method. In this sense, it is essential to comply with the vaccination schedule for dogs, because although they do will not prevent the appearance of kennel cough, they do help reduce symptoms and facilitate their healing.

How to Treat Kennel Cough in Dogs - How to prevent kennel cough

Can humans get kennel cough?

Because of the rapidity with which this pathology is spread, it is not surprising that many wonder if kennel cough in dogs is also transmitted to humans. Bordetella bronchiseptica is related to Bordetella pertussis, a bacterium responsible for whooping cough in children, and there have been cases of both children and adults affected by this pathoge. Therefore, infectious canine tracheobroniquitis is considered a zoonosis.

However, the rare cases in which this happens have occurred in people with a weakened immune system (immunosuppressants), such as HIV patients, patients following glucocorticoid therapy for a long period of time, etc. Because of this, we must stress the rarity of kennel cough transmission to humans.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Treat Kennel Cough in Dogs, we recommend you visit our Breathing diseases category.

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How to Treat Kennel Cough in Dogs