From time to time an infectious respiratory disease makes its appearance in dogs. It is not fatal and can be quite transient, but often it causes severe discomfort and requires veterinary attention. The disease is called kennel cough.
The kennel cough is highly infectious and can spread rapidly whenever large numbers of dogs meet. A single coughing dog can spread the disease far and wide if taken to a dog show, obedience classes, boarding kennels or even when socializing at the neighborhood shops.
The cause of kennel cough can be one of a number of viruses. As with any initial viral infection, secondary bacterial infection occurs and the severity of the disease probably depends on the type of secondary infection occurring after the initial infection. The dog’s general health and conditions under which it is kept also play a part in determining the severity of the infection.
The organism thought to be responsible for most outbreaks of kennel cough is a virus called canine adenovirus type 2. This virus is very similar to that which causes infectious hepatitis in dogs. Unlike the canine hepatitis virus, or canine adenovirus type 1, it does not invade tissues other than that of the respiratory tract.
Can dogs get kennel cough twice?
Yes, dogs can get Kennel cough more than once. There are two principal strains of kennel cough. One is caused by the Bordetella bronchiseptica strain; the other is caused by the Parainfluenza virus.
How can I tell if my dog has kennel cough?
After exposure to an infected dog, it usually takes 5 to 7 days for kennel cough symptoms to occur.
- At first, the dog may give only an occasional cough after excitement or exercise or after a bout of barking.
- In some dogs, the disease goes no further but in others, the cough gradually becomes more frequent and bouts of coughing more severe until any exertion induces a loud rasping cough followed by retching as if to dislodge something from the throat.
- The dog does not appear sick otherwise and continues to eat. If the disease process is prolonged and secondary bacterial infection occurs, the throat tissues can become sore and the dog is then disinclined to eat.
- The dog’s temperature may be elevated at this point and the infection may extend further down the respiratory tract, with more serious consequences.
What is the fastest way to cure kennel cough?
Treatment is advisable if the dog’s cough is increasing in frequency after 2 or 3 days. Antibiotics are given to treat secondary infection and these are often given in conjunction with a tablet to break down any thick mucous secretions in the respiratory tract.
Anti-inflammatory agents are often used to reduce the inflammation in the throat and larynx. If coughing is very pronounced, cough mixtures are also prescribed. The dog should be confined as much as possible as any excitement or overexertion induces further paroxysms of coughing.
Contact with other dogs should be avoided to limit the spread of the disease. Sleeping quarters should be sheltered and dry, but keeping the dog in artificially heated areas should be avoided as the drying effect of the inspired air further irritates the already inflamed tissues.
Is a dog immune after having kennel cough?
Dogs that have recovered from kennel cough do not seem to have a very long-lived immunity to the disease. Some vaccine manufacturers have incorporated an attenuated form of the adenovirus type 2 in their distemper/hepatitis vaccines.
How effective this is in protecting dogs from kennel cough is not known. Its main advantage, however, will be that it avoids one of the complications in the use of the conventional attenuated canine hepatitis virus, or adenovirus type 1.
A very small percentage of dogs develop a corneal opacity approximately 10 days after vaccination. This is reversible but can be quite alarming to the owner.
With the use of DA2PP (a multivalent vaccine for dogs), the adenovirus type 2 vaccine combined with distemper, this reaction is eliminated. If it gives protection against kennel cough, it is an added justification for its general use.
can I walk my dog with kennel cough?
Kennel cough is a contagious disease but can be prevented from spreading by keeping your dog away from areas where other dogs are present, such as dog parks and dog shows.
The best thing you can do to avoid kennel cough is to vaccinate your pet at least three weeks before they come in contact with other animals. If you believe your dog has contracted kennel cough, try to keep them away from other dogs until they recover.
If your dog has been diagnosed with kennel cough and you have been instructed by your vet to keep them at home, then you should not take your dog for walks outside.
Can I give my dog Robitussin for kennel cough?
If your dog has kennel cough, you may be wondering if Robitussin will help him feel better. Unfortunately, it won’t. Despite the fact that many pet owners give Robitussin to their dogs for kennel cough, this is a bad idea.
The symptoms of kennel cough are caused by an infection in your dog’s throat and lungs. If you suppress the cough too much, it means your dog will be unable to expel the infected secretions from its lungs as well as it should. This can result in a longer-lasting infection, which could actually make your pet sicker than before.
In order for kennel cough to clear up properly, your dog needs to be able to expel all of the infected material from its body with a deep, full-bodied cough. A strong cough is good — it shows that your dog’s immune system is fighting off the infection effectively.
How to prevent kennel cough
The best treatment is prevention. Taking your dog to the vet for a general checkup and vaccinations can help prevent kennel cough. If your dog does contract the illness, you can treat it with antibiotics to treat a secondary infection or a humidifier to relieve the symptoms, but you might need to see a vet for a specific diagnosis.
A humidifier will help loosen mucus and make breathing easier for your pet. Be careful not to give your dog too much medication or you could end up with an overdose or an adverse reaction.