Identifying and treating Kennel Cough

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Why is my dog coughing?

Like humans, dogs can catch viruses and infections and show symptoms similar to that of a cold or flu. Kennel cough is a common respiratory infection in dogs caused by bacteria or viruses.

Also known as Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease, Bordetella, or Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, kennel cough is a highly contagious upper respiratory infection in dogs. If your four-legged friend has recently returned from a walk to the dog park or stayed in a new environment with other dogs, and begun hacking and gagging, kennel cough is likely to blame.

How do dogs contract kennel cough?

Many different bacterial strains comprise the general term “kennel cough”; however, Bordetella bronchiseptica is the most common strain, which is why kennel cough is often referred to as Bordetella. These bacterial particles can spread easily from dog to dog, or to a dog from a contaminated surface, including kennel areas, food and water bowls, bedding, and leashes.

Healthy dogs can contract kennel cough by being near a coughing dog, or by coming in contact with a surface contaminated with a sick dog’s respiratory emissions. Dogs most commonly pick up kennel cough from boarding facilities, dog parks, or straying into areas of other dogs. One of the major issues with canine cough is the fact it is highly contagious and can quickly spread.

What other diseases can cause coughing?

In addition to kennel cough, there’s many other conditions that may cause your dog to cough. To confirm whether your dog’s cough is due to a kennel cough infection, your vet will need to perform a physical exam, and may also suggest blood testing and chest x-rays.

Other diseases that cause coughing includes congestive heart failure, heartworm, pneumonia, airway obstruction, collapsing trachea and cancers.

What are the symptoms of kennel cough?

Typically, the symptoms of canine cough present three to seven days after exposure to the virus. The key symptoms include a hacking, non-productive cough, gagging, sneezing and/or a runny nose. Some dogs may cough so hard and persistently that they vomit. Getting excited, as well as exercise can worsen symptoms. However, symptoms generally resolve after approximately seven to 10 days. It’s important to keep a close eye on your dog as pneumonia or bronchitis may develop.

How can I keep my dog safe from kennel cough?

Vaccinate! To help protect against canine cough there is an intranasal, oral or injectable vaccine available. Avoid boarding facilities that do not require proof of vaccinations and be aware that not all dogs attending dog parks will be vaccinated.

With proper precautions and appropriate vaccinations, you can greatly reduce your pet’s chance of developing an annoying cough.

For more information, contact the team at Orchard Hills Veterinary Hospital on 4736 2037.

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