Kennel cough in dogs is a highly contagious respiratory disease, spreading easily when infected dogs come in direct contact with uninfected dogs. It is therefore one of the top diseases that kennels require dogs to be vaccinated against before boarding.
Kennel Cough Symptoms and Diagnosis
Dog kennel cough is initially characterized by a dry and persistent cough, avoidance of food and lethargy. As it progresses these symptoms can lead to fever, systemic illness, nasal discharge containing puss and difficulty breathing. Anorexia is a common symptom, because as food passes through the esophagus, it presses on the infected and congested wind pipe, causing the dog to feel choked and to avoid eating.
To diagnose the disease, a veterinarian will palpitate (gently press against) your dog’s trachea ("wind pipe") to induce coughing. Unfortunately, since white blood-cell count typically appears normal with kennel cough, a blood test will not be helpful.
Kennel cough can persist for five to seven days, with the disease lasting as long as three weeks, depending on treatments.
Kennel cough in puppies
During the period that puppies lose their mother's immunity protection and begin to develop their own immune systems, they can be infected easily by dog kennel cough if they are not vaccinated. Symptoms for kennel cough in puppies is similar to adult dogs: coughing, gagging, retching and even vomiting, as well as tiredness or even exhaustion, and an emaciated, thin, weak and unhealthy appearance.
Dog Kennel Cough Treatment and Prevention
If an adult dog's cough persists for more than five or six days, see your veterinarian. Kennel cough, usually termed as a "symptom" for a respiratory complication in dogs, is also associated with infections caused by bacteria and viruses such as Bordetella bronchiseptica, adenoviruses, distemper and Para influenza viruses. As a result, it is important that it not develop into a more serious complication. Your veterinarian will likely prescribe some combination of the following:
- Suppressants and expectorants – These help your dog to reduce its cough, an important element in any treatment. National Pet Pharmacy can provide a number of varieties that include corticosteroids.
- Vaccinations – Your dog should be vaccinated against kennel cough if you're going to board it with other dogs. Also, avoid kennels or in-home stays with other dogs that could be infected or not yet vaccinated.
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