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What are the signs and symptoms of kennel cough and how is it treated?

May 08, 2023

Duncan Houston

Kennel cough, also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs. It is typically caused by a combination of viral and bacterial agents, with the most common being the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacterium and the canine parainfluenza virus.

Signs and symptoms of kennel cough may include:

1. A dry, hacking cough that sounds like a honking goose or something caught in the dog's throat
2. Retching or gagging, especially after coughing
3. Nasal discharge
4. Conjunctivitis (red, watery eyes)
5. Lethargy
6. Loss of appetite
7. Low-grade fever (in some cases)

These symptoms can last for several days to a few weeks. However, if your dog shows any of these signs, it is essential to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis, as the symptoms can also resemble other respiratory diseases.

Treatment for kennel cough may include:

1. Supportive care: Ensuring your dog has a comfortable and stress-free environment to recover. This may include providing a warm, quiet place to rest, offering fresh water, and monitoring their appetite.
2. Antibiotics: Your vet may prescribe antibiotics if a bacterial infection is suspected or confirmed. Antibiotics can help shorten the duration of the illness and prevent secondary infections.
3. Cough suppressants: In some cases, your vet may recommend cough suppressants to reduce the severity of the cough and provide comfort to your dog.
4. Anti-inflammatory medication: In cases where there is inflammation in the airways, your vet may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling and provide relief.
5. Fluid therapy: If your dog is dehydrated or not eating well, your vet may recommend fluid therapy to ensure they are receiving the necessary nutrients.

Prevention of kennel cough involves minimizing exposure to infected dogs and practicing good hygiene. Vaccination against some of the most common infectious agents, such as Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza virus, can also help reduce the risk of infection. However, no vaccine can protect against all the possible agents that can cause kennel cough. It is important to consult with your veterinarian about the best vaccination strategy for your dog based on their specific needs and risks.