Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, often referred to as kennel cough in dogs, is a respiratory illness commonly observed in canines.
This disease is usually caused by the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria and the canine parainfluenza virus, which attack the lining of a dog’s respiratory tract, leading to inflammation and irritation in the upper airway.
Although not typically severe for most healthy dogs, kennel cough can result in more serious secondary infections in puppies, elderly dogs, or those with compromised immune systems.
The term “kennel cough” derives from its highly contagious nature, enabling rapid spread in environments where dogs are in close proximity, such as kennels, dog parks, and homes with multiple dogs. Transmission occurs when dogs are exposed to droplets from the cough of an infected dog. This can happen through direct contact or indirectly via objects contaminated with these droplets, like toys, bowls, cages, or blankets.
The primary indicator of kennel cough is a persistent, non-productive cough that may resemble a goose’s honk or sound as though your dog has an obstruction in their throat. Additional symptoms of kennel cough in dogs might include a runny nose, sneezing, lethargy, reduced appetite, and a slight fever，like getting a cold.
Should your dog exhibit symptoms of kennel cough, it’s crucial to keep them isolated from other dogs and promptly seek advice from your veterinarian.
Given the highly infectious nature of this condition, if your dog is generally healthy and exhibits only mild symptoms, your vet might advise isolating your pet from others and providing a few days of rest while monitoring their condition.
However, if your dog’s symptoms appear more severe, your veterinarian may suggest an in-person examination for a thorough assessment.
The diagnosis of kennel cough primarily involves ruling out other conditions. Many severe illnesses share symptoms with kennel cough, so your vet will check for issues like collapsing trachea, heartworm, bronchitis, asthma, cancer, and heart disease. Coughing might also indicate the presence of the canine distemper virus or canine influenza virus.
Based on the examination findings and your pet’s medical history, your vet will decide if kennel cough is the probable cause of your dog’s symptoms.
Kennel cough is usually manageable if your dog is otherwise healthy. Your veterinarian might determine that no specific medication is needed and suggest rest while the infection naturally resolves, similar to treating a common cold in humans.
For dogs with more severe symptoms, your vet may prescribe antibiotics to prevent secondary infections or cough suppressants for relief from continuous coughing.
During recovery, it’s advisable to avoid neck collars and instead use a body harness for walks. Additionally, placing a humidifier in rooms where your dog spends time can help alleviate symptoms.
Most dogs recover from kennel cough within one to two weeks. However, if your dog’s symptoms persist beyond this period, a follow-up vet appointment is crucial. In some instances, kennel cough can lead to pneumonia.
Consider discussing vaccination against kennel cough with your vet if your dog often interacts with other dogs. Although the vaccine can reduce the risk, it’s not entirely foolproof as kennel cough can be triggered by various pathogens.
There are three types of the vaccine: an injectable form, a nasal mist, and an oral medication. Depending on your pet’s needs, your vet will recommend the most suitable form of the kennel cough vaccine.
If your dog has been diagnosed with kennel cough, providing supportive home care is essential for their recovery. First and foremost, ensure your dog has a quiet and comfortable space to rest, away from any drafts or temperature extremes. A stress-free environment aids in faster recovery.
Make sure your dog has access to fresh water at all times to stay hydrated, as hydration is crucial for healing. If your dog is less interested in food, try offering small, frequent meals of easily digestible food to maintain their strength.
Humidity can help ease respiratory discomfort, so consider running a humidifier in the room where your dog rests. Additionally, minimize exposure to smoke, dust, and other irritants that could aggravate their respiratory tract.
Gently clean any nasal discharge with a soft, damp cloth and monitor your dog for any signs of worsening symptoms. If your dog’s condition does not improve or deteriorates, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Lastly, give your dog plenty of affection and reassurance, as your presence can be comforting during their recovery period. Remember, while home care is important, it should be complemented by the treatment plan and advice given by your veterinarian.
Kennel cough in dogs is a treatable condition that requires timely veterinary care and supportive home management. Early recognition of symptoms, appropriate medical intervention, and dedicated home care are crucial for your dog’s swift recovery and overall well-being.