Although it is a disease that is very treatable if caught in time, kennel cough can be very annoying for your pet. Moreover, if it is not taken care of quickly enough, it can develop into more serious respiratory problems such as pneumonia, and, in very rare cases, it can even lead to death if no medical help is provided. .
Knowing this disease, its symptoms and knowing how to act quickly and effectively is therefore important for the well-being of your little companion, and to avoid painful moments.
How can a dog get kennel cough?
Kennel cough (or infectious tracheobronchitis) is a very contagious disease. However, it is not a zoonosis, which means that it cannot be transmitted to humans. It results from the presence of different viruses or bacteria that affect the dog’s respiratory system, and cause infection.
Kennel cough is aptly named, since the greatest risk for a dog to catch this disease is to find itself in an area with many congeners around it, whether it is a kennel, a group of hunting dogs or a dog show for example.
The transmission of these pathogens occurs through contact with what is called a “nose to nose” between dogs, ie when two dogs sniff each other’s noses. It can also be transmitted simply from a single infected individual, who coughs or sneezes in the midst of other dogs, thus spreading the virus and bacteria to their fellows.
The main victims of this disease are young puppies who still have a weak immune system, or older dogs or dogs with weakened health, for the same reasons as for the puppy.
Symptoms of kennel cough
The symptoms of kennel cough are characterized by a dry, hoarse cough for a long time and very regularly, up to regurgitation. These coughs are accompanied by a runny nose causing sneezing, discharge from the eyes, difficulty breathing, as well as fever in some cases.
These symptoms cause increased fatigue in the dog and difficulty performing physical activities due to the breathing problems. These symptoms can last from a few days to over a month for the most severe cases.
Diagnosis of kennel cough
Kennel cough is a fairly easy disease to spot, a dog coughing regularly, in this way and for a long time, is symptomatic of the disease. However, given the complexity of finding the exact pathogen causing the disease in an individual (many bacteria or many different microbes can cause kennel cough), and therefore in order to prescribe the right medications, x-rays chest or blood tests may be done.
Treatment of kennel cough
Depending on the level of infection, different treatments may be prescribed. Anti-inflammatory drugs can relieve the animal, while antibiotics will be used against a bacterial attack.
In all cases, as soon as the treatment is taken, the kennel cough ends up passing in a few days, or even two weeks maximum.
In rare cases, if the antibiotics have no effect, the dog will need to be hospitalized for further examinations.
How to prevent kennel cough?
The best way that your dog does not get kennel cough is to have him vaccinated, either by injection or by intra-nasal spray.
The puppy can be vaccinated by injection as soon as he is between 4 and 6 weeks old, then a booster will be injected 2 or 3 weeks after the first injection. An annual reminder will then be necessary.
For the intra-nasal spray vaccination, the dog can receive it as early as 3 weeks, it will simply be necessary to give him a booster every year.
If you are adopting a dog that comes from a location where it has been around a lot of dogs, such as a pet store or shelter, be sure to ask the previous owner if the dog has been vaccinated against kennel cough. This has normally been done, but if not, it is best to do it right away.
If you also plan to take your dog to an area where many dogs will be present, it is best to have him vaccinated beforehand, as a precaution.
As you have seen, kennel cough is a disease that is absolutely not dangerous when taken care of in time, and cases of complications are very rare. If your dog declares the first symptoms, do not panic and simply make an appointment with your veterinarian who will be able to take care of your four-legged friend very well.