When your dog coughs a deep, honking, raspy sounding cough, it can be very concerning and even frightening. This sound could indicate Kennel Cough. Kennel Cough is very common and, once diagnosed by a professional, can be treated with the use pharmaceuticals, naturalistic methods or a combination of the two. Knowing the symptoms, treatment and prevention of Kennel cough will help your dog should he be exposed.
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What is Kennel Cough?
It is a contagious upper respiratory infection that can be brought on by both a virus or exposure to a bacterial infection. It can be airborne or spread through direct contact with, including licking and sniffing, an infected surface. The “honking” noise occurs when there is inflammation around the larynx.
NOTE: The effects of Kennel cough can be much more serious for a senior dog or a puppy as their immune systems are not as strong.
I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.
What are the symptoms of Kennel Cough?
Along with the nasty cough, there can be a number of other cold-like symptoms. Your doggo might sneeze or have a runny nose. He could also have runny eyes, a low-grade fever, lethargy and a reduced appetite. Basically, all the symptoms humans exhibit when they have a bad cold. If left untreated, the symptoms can become more severe and ultimately lead to pneumonia – or worse. These symptoms can last up to 7 weeks, even longer if it’s a puppy or a senior dog. Even after the symptoms have cleared, your dog can be a carrier for several weeks.
How is Kennel cough transmitted?
Kennel cough is generally spread in areas where multiple dogs gather. This includes doggy daycares, shelters, boarding locations and even dog parks. When a dog that is carrying the virus coughs or sneezes the germs are released into the air. Poor ventilation can cause the airborne particles to spread quickly from dog to dog. In the case of the dog park, from nose to nose contact.
Treating Kennel Cough
The pharmaceutical methods typically include antibiotics to clear the infection and veterinary cough medicine to ease the symptoms and make your dog comfortable. Some natural methods include using a humidifier, honey and chicken soup. A humidifier will moisturize the air which can help to reduce the dry cough. Honey has natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to treat the symptoms. The honey will also coat the throat, minimizing the irritation which lessens the desire to cough. Chicken soup, as with humans, can sooth the throat while helping to reinforce the immune system. (Please make the soup from scratch or use sodium-free packaged soup.)
Preventing Kennel Cough
Prevention is largely done by isolating the dogs that have been exposed to the virus. When selecting a daycare or boarding facility, do some investigating to be sure that they do not have a current outbreak and that they have proper ventilation to reduce the risk of transmission should one of the other dogs be a carrier. The Bordetella vaccine is available to help fight the bacteria that, combined with the virus, results in kennel cough. There are different ways of administering the vaccine; orally, through nose drops or by injection.
You should always discuss the best prevention and treatment options for your individual pet with your vet.