Pet Tips

Kennel Cough in Dogs – Pet tip 165

Kennel cough also known as infectious tracheobronchitis is a highly contagious disease that dogs can give to and get from other dogs. Kennel cough is a dry cough that sometimes sounds like a honking goose or duck. It sounds like something is stuck in the dog’s throat and the dog coughs or retches to try to get rid of it. Kennel cough can be very annoying for dogs as sometimes they will cough throughout the entire day or every few minutes. Dogs normally spread kennel cough to each other through direct inhalation of the bacteria and/or virus that causes kennel cough. It can also be spread through direct contact with another infected dog or through contact with an infected surface. Although it is highly contagious to other dogs, humans cannot get it from dogs.

If your dog is healthy and it catches kennel cough it will probably clear up on its own. It is more dangerous for puppies and dogs whose immune systems are compromised. It is an extremely common problem for pet store puppies, at dog shows, in dog parks, grooming salons and in shelters where transmission is so easy spread from dog to dog. Shelter dogs in particular are known to be at risk because when dogs are brought to shelters they are in a state of high stress. They can easily become depressed and their immune systems suffer as a consequence. If kennel cough isn’t treated and doesn’t get better on its own it can often develop into bronchitis or into a full blown pneumonia. In order to help clear up a case of kennel cough antibiotics as well as cough suppressants are often prescribed by veterinarians.

One of the best ways to deal with kennel cough is by vaccinating dogs against kennel cough. This is usually done when they are puppies and then they receive an annual booster after that. Disinfection of cages and play areas where many dogs congregate is another way to help prevent the disease. People like groomers, dog handlers, dog walkers and dog sitters can also help to not spread the disease by thorough washing of their hands and disinfecting the equipment that they use from dog to dog.

If you think your dog may have kennel cough then it’s always best to take your dog to the vet. Kennel cough can be mistaken for other more serious diseases where coughing is a symptom. Your vet will be able to determine whether it is in fact kennel cough and what steps need to be taken.

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