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Kennel Cough: What It Is and How to Treat It

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough: Those are two words a dog owner doesn’t like to hear. Doggy colds and viruses are pretty common. This is of the most common ailments you see with dogs who’ve been kept around other dogs and is also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis. Read on to learn more about this infection, how to identify it and how you can treat it.

What Is Kennel Cough and How Is It Spread?

Kennel Cough is a bacterial infection caused by a bacterium called Bordetella bronchiseptica, and in dogs it causes a dry cough. It is highly contagious and therefore spreads through an animal shelter like the common cold spreads through a kindergarten class. It can be transferred outdoors as well, through the air or by drinking from the communal water bowls at the dog park.

What are the Symptoms of Kennel Cough?

Signs of kennel cough include a dry cough or a “reverse sneeze.” A reverse sneeze sounds like a sniffling cough through the nose and signifies post-nasal drip or a tickle in the throat. Your dog may seem lethargic and have low energy or he may otherwise appear normal. Signs can appear as early as two days after exposure.

It’s important to keep a close eye on your pup the days following the adoption. Leaving the shelter and adjusting to a new home is a big change for a dog, and he or she could be low energy due to lack of confidence or they could be genuinely sick. Make sure your dog is eating and drinking normally, because if they aren’t, that’s a possible sign something is wrong.

What Can You Do to Prevent Kennel Cough?

There is a kennel cough vaccine, or rather, there is a Bordetella vaccine which helps prevent kennel cough. Kennel cough vaccines are available and very inexpensive. This infection is just another reason why it’s important to keep your dog up to date on these vaccinations. If you are reading this article before you go to adopt your new dog, ask the shelter or rescue staff if they have seen any signs of the illness. When you go to the dog park, bring your own collapsible water bowl and don’t let your dog drink from the communal bowls.

What Does Kennel Cough Treatment Entail?

Kennel cough treatment isn’t terribly involved. Many cases will go away on their own, but you should still call your vet if you suspect your pooch is ill. If necessary, the infection can be easily treated with antibiotics. If you adopted your pet from a rescue group or shelter, contact them! Oftentimes they will provide follow-up advice and medicine at little or no cost to you. Your pet’s symptoms should improve within one week, with or without medication.

If your dog’s condition doesn’t improve within one week, or he shows other signs like nasal or eye discharge, vomiting, fever, etc., this could be a sign of something more serious and it’s a good idea to contact your veterinarian.