Kennel Cough in Dogs: Not Just From Kennels!

With summer and the holiday season fast approaching, many of you may be planning trips away with family and friends.  This means that your canine companions may need to be boarded at kennels or pet resorts.  Kennel cough, or Canine Infectious Tracheobronhitis, is a contagious respiratory infection that affects dogs.  It is spread by respiratory droplets (released by coughing) from infected dogs, which are inhaled by non-infected dogs.  The name Kennel Cough came about as it most commonly occurs after kenneling, as the dog shares the same air space as many other dogs in this situation.  However, it can also be picked up from other dogs when out walking in the park or in similar situations.

The main culprits in the disease are several infectious agents including Bordatella Bronchiseptica, Canine Adenovirus 2 and Parainfluenza virus.  The classic kennel cough symptom is a your dog coughing a dry or productive hacking cough, which often sounds like there is something stuck in his or her throat.  A recent history of him or her staying in a boarding facility is likely, but not always the case.  Your puppy may be bright, eating well and happy in every other way, or may have other signs of illness such as depression, reduced appetite and weight loss.

Treatment for kennel cough in more severe cases may include antibiotics, as well as supportive care, such as IV fluids if your doggy is dehydrated.  In most cases when coughing is the only symptom, antibiotics are not necessary.  However your vet may prescribe cough suppressants to reduce all that exhausting coughing!  The cough can take several weeks to clear, and infected dogs should be rested and kept away from other dogs to prevent passing on the infection.  The good news is that kennel cough is mostly preventable by vaccination, which significantly reduces the chances of your pooch getting the disease.

Did you vaccinate your dog against kennel disease? Why or why not?  Let us know about it in the comments!

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