Infectious tracheobronchitis, commonly referred to as kennel cough, is a canine respiratory infection triggered by Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza infection. These pathogens attack the cilia lining the respiratory tract and cause inflammation of the upper air passage. This causes irritation of the airways and a dry cough. It also makes the animal more susceptible to a secondary infection. Although kennel cough is more common during summertime, it can occur anytime.
Kennel Cough in Dogs
How does your dog get it?
Kennel cough is VERY contagious. It is called kennel cough since it can quickly spread out through a kennel and infect every dog. Kennel cough can be transferred by aerosols released when a sick animal coughs, by direct contact with an infected animal, or by the sharing of contaminated things. Kennel cough spreads rapidly when dogs are kept in close quarters (such as boarding facilities and animal shelters), but it can likewise spread if a dog welcomes an infected dog during a walk or drinks from a polluted water bowl at the dog park.
Symptoms and signs
Any dog can get kennel cough, however puppies and unvaccinated dogs are at a greater risk. Kennel cough causes a persistent, nonproductive cough that might sound as if something is caught in your pet’s throat and they are gagging or trying to clear their throat. Others explain it as a deep honking cough. Symptoms ususally establish 3 to 10 days after exposure to an infected animal. Animals with kennel cough will otherwise act and eat typically. Workout or getting excited can make symptoms even worse.
If you think your dog has kennel cough, see your vet as quickly as possible. Because there’s no particular test for kennel cough, it’s a medical diagnosis of exemption. Your veterinarian will analyze your dog to exclude other causes of a nonproductive cough, such as heart disease, fungal and parasitic infections like heartworm disease, a collapsing trachea, and cancer. Dogs with kennel cough normally have a history of exposure, i.e. freshly acquired animals from a shelter, pet store, or breeder, or animals that have actually just recently been boarded, to a groomer, current boarding, training classes, dog shows, or trips to dog parks. Based on the assessment and history, your vet will identify whether they presume kennel cough.
Treatment depends on the severity of symptoms. In really mild cases, no medications are offered because the disease is self-limiting and will run its course, similar to a human cold. Humidifiers and utilizing a harness instead of a collar (to avoid annoying the neck) can also help. More major cases are treated with oral antibiotics and frequently cough suppressants. Most cases solve within 7-14 days. If symptoms don’t improve, animals must be re-examined and further work-up may be necessary. Kennel cough can occasionally advance to pneumonia so it is important to monitor your pet and inform your vet if she or he isn’t really enhancing. Pups with an immature body immune system and older dogs with a weaker body immune systems are at greater risk for developing pneumonia from kennel cough. If your dog becomes listless, lethargic, stops eating, has trouble breathing, develops extreme green nasal discharge or an efficient cough, see your vet instantly. Lastly, if you believe your dog has kennel cough, separate them from other dogs to prevent spreading it.
There are 3 types of vaccines available against kennel cough: an injectable, intranasal, and newer oral type. Although these vaccines do not offer 100% protection, they provide some security versus kennel cough and decrease the severity of symptoms. Talk to your vet to find out more about kennel cough and the best method to safeguard your dog from it.
Also read: My Dog Is Coughing: Is It Dangerous?