Canine Kennel Cough

It’s important to take precautions against canine kennel cough, a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by a variety of different bacteria and viruses. 

The most effective way to prevent kennel cough is to vaccinate your dog. Vaccines should be administered at least every two years, but more frequent vaccinations might be necessary depending on the environment your dog spends time in. If your dog spends any time in a kennel or around other dogs at a dog park, it’s especially important to make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations.

In addition to vaccination, there are also other preventive measures that can help reduce the risk of kennel cough. Make sure that your dog has plenty of fresh water and a clean environment. If your dog has been exposed to an area where other dogs have been present, make sure to thoroughly clean your dog’s bedding and other items that could have been contaminated. It’s also important to keep your dog away from other dogs that have signs of illness, as kennel cough can spread quickly among animals.

Symptoms of Canine Kennel Cough

The symptoms of kennel cough are usually quite easy to recognize. Common signs of the infection include a dry, hacking cough that can sound like honking or gagging, and is often worse when the dog is excited or exercising. Other symptoms can include:

  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Decreased willingness to exercise

In more severe cases, the infection can lead to pneumonia.

If you think that your dog has signs of kennel cough, it’s important to take them to the vet as soon as possible for a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Diagnosing Canine Kennel Cough

In order to diagnose kennel cough, your vet will take a thorough history of your dog’s symptoms as well as any recent exposures to other dogs. They will perform a physical exam to look for signs of infection. Your vet could also recommend x-rays or other tests such as nasal swabbing to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions.

Stages of Canine Kennel Cough

Kennel cough can be split into three stages.

Stage 1

The first stage is the incubation period, where the virus or bacteria that causes the infection is present but there are no obvious symptoms yet. During this time, the dog could still be contagious and can spread the infection to other animals. This period can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Stage 2

The second stage is the acute stage, when the infection becomes established and symptoms begin to appear. This can last from a few days to three weeks.

Stage 3

The third stage is the convalescent period, where the symptoms gradually become less severe and can even go away completely over time. During this time, it’s important to continue providing supportive care and keep your dog away from other animals until they have fully recovered.

Treating Canine Kennel Cough

Treating kennel cough depends on the severity of their infection and any other underlying conditions. Treatment can involve antibiotics, pain relief, anti-inflammatory drugs, fluids and supportive care. It’s important to follow your vet’s instructions carefully and make sure your dog gets plenty of rest during their recovery.

Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory infection that can be prevented with regular vaccinations and good hygiene. If your dog has any signs of kennel cough, it’s important to take them to the vet for a diagnosis and treatment plan as soon as possible. With proper care, most dogs recover fully from kennel cough within three weeks.

Preventing Canine Kennel Cough

The best way to prevent kennel cough is to make sure your dog is up to date on their vaccinations, as this can help protect it from the virus and bacteria that commonly cause the infection. It’s important to keep your dog away from other dogs that have signs of illness and be sure to clean their bedding and other items if they have been exposed to a contaminated area.