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-   -   What is Canine/Kennel cough? Answered by Dr. Guindon (

petdr May 3rd, 2001 08:36 PM


Hi there,

What is canine cough? what are the symtoms? Can any natural products cure it and can it be contracted to humans?




Canine cough

What is a cough ?

A cough is a defence response of the respiratory system when irritated. All animals possessing a pulmonary system have the ability to react, thus an irritated larynx, trachea or lungs can provoke a cough in dogs. The cause of irritation can come from external stimuli such as pollutants, bacteria and virus in the air. Systemic reactions are also possible and these could involve allergens, presence of tumors or circulatory problems. As you can see a cough can be more than just "a cough".

Just in case Harland meant "kennel cough" when asking about canine's some extra information.

Kennel cough

Kennel cough or infectious tracheobronchitis is an inflammation of the respiratory system due to the presence of pathogenic virus and bacteria in the air. Transmission is trough direct inhalation of the virus and bacteria shed in the air by a coughing sick dog. Symptoms are a persistent cough that could lead to light tracheitis or a severe pneumonia.

The disease is not transmitted to humans but is highly contagious to dogs.

In standard veterinary medicine, antibiotics are sometimes used to prevent secondary bacterial infections Cough syrups are often also prescribed by the veterinarian.

In selecting useful homeopathic remedies, one should look for complexes that provide relief to the respiratory system and stimulate the immune defenses of the dog. These products could be obtained from various homeopathic companies such as: Boiron, Homeocan, Vetnat, Heel, Reckeweg and others.

Consult your veterinarian or your pharmacist.

Paul Guindon dmv
Clinique veterinaire Salaberry
Medecine conventionnelle et holystique
1895 Salaberry, Montreal, Qc

fred11 January 12th, 2002 07:52 PM

I always though that Kennel Cough could be transmitted to humans....

Is Kennel cough contagious to other species such as cats?


This was a great article


redturbo July 22nd, 2003 10:33 AM

Kennel Cough remedy that works!
I recently obtained a chow/ keeshond mix from a Humane Society in my state. I currently owned a keeshond who needed a friend. After bringing him home, and being assured he had all vaccinations back in June, he began coughing! I paniced and isolated him from my other dog. Everything I read on-line said my other dog would already have contracted it and I knew I was in for a major 2 week nightmare with Kennel Cough! Having 4 small kids and 4 inside cats I knew I could not handle separating these two dogs for that length of time or afford unreasonable vet bills. After careful research of herbal remedies here's what I did and it worked! Not only did it shorten the kennel cough in my one dog, the other never got it (and she's not vaccinated against it)!

- 1 tablet garlic
- 1 tablet 500 mg. vitamin C
- 1 capsule echinacea

3x's a day for 5-7 days. The echinacea and garlic can be mixed with canned food, the dogs like the vit. C.

I have always treated my kids herbally when they were sick and my cats homeopathically for urinary tract infections (for about $10 vs. $120.00 with a vet!), so why not try it with my dogs? I tell you, it works!

Carina July 22nd, 2003 12:25 PM

While you think the herbal remedy may have "cured" your dog, be aware that in the vast majority of cases, kennel cough/bordatella will clear up all by itself in healthy dogs, with no intervention at all. Much like the common cold will clear up in healthy humans. You could have saved yourself $10.00 :D

Also, there are a number of strains of bordatella, and the vac does not protect fully against each strain. Additionally, it is rare but not unheard of that a dog will get it as a vaccine reaction - so just because a dog was innoculated, there is no absolute guarantee that s/he can't get it.

redturbo July 22nd, 2003 12:36 PM

I am sorry you misunderstood my post, $10.00 was for my cat's urinary tract (apis, belladonna and cantharis). The garlic, vit. C and echinacea are things my family takes every day for our immune system so it didn't cost a dime. My point was not that it cures KC, viral infections cannot be cured, but fought off through healthy immune systems. Goldenseal can be administered for up to 10 days to fight bacterial infections. As for the incubation period, 2 weeks have come and gone and neither dog has KC, I will also keep them on this in the future for their immune systems.

This, I hope, will assist other dog owners to prevent outbreaks in multiple dog households. Doubtful? Try it yourself.

Carina July 22nd, 2003 04:10 PM

I'm certainly not doubting the efficacy of nutraceuticals! I use herbal/home remedies also, in conjunction with allopathic care as warranted; although my initial response to something relatively minor like a human cold or KC is to do nothing at all and let the body deal with it naturally. (To me naturally means without herbs OR meds.)

I just wanted to add a little stuff about KC for others' benefit too...last fall a friend brought a rescue into my house for a little while, turns out she had a raging case of KC. Two of my dogs got it, two didn't...interestingly enough the two who did NOT get it were my very very old GSDx who is in failing health (she's basically in hospice mode now :( ) and my youngest Rottie, who was in terrible shape as a shelter rescue and has had recurring, stubborn staph infections. The two really "healthy" dogs who are in (I thought) absolutely prime condition were gaakkking and hacking for 2 weeks.

Go figure. :)

norwicz December 3rd, 2003 10:57 PM

I got a puppy from the pound and it had severe kc and now my other dogs have it. I wonder if you can use people amoxicillin in place of the doxyciclyn.

please advise. The cost for 3 other dogs would be $300 and its christmas in mississippi

Carina December 4th, 2003 05:29 AM

Amoxycillin is fine for dogs but DON'T give any to your dogs without a vet's OK! Antibiotics should really only be given when there's a real need anyhow.

Actually, you don't have to treat KC at all, 99% of the time it goes away by itself,like a human cold. Most vets will just tell you to wait it out.

drdouggie December 7th, 2003 11:02 AM

Hi Norwicz,

Just a few things....totally agree with Carina here. While amoxycillin is fine for dogs you should only you use it after advice from your vet, don't be giving your dog stuff prescribed for humans, you could overdose them. Dosage of antibiotics is worked out relative to the weight of the animal. So giving a small dog (like a terrier) a human dose wouldn't be good.

Like Carina said, unless your dogs have got a secondary bacterial infection, there's not much point giving them antibiotics as the antibiotics don't work for viral infections, only the dogs immune system can fight a viral infection.

Also, $300???? This sounds very steep for a course of antibiotics for three dogs. If it's only antibiotics you're getting I think this is way too expensive, you should query why it's so dear. A course of antibiotics would be around 10 (at the most) times 3 then that's about 30 which is about $52, definately not $300

melanie December 7th, 2003 03:21 PM

for future reference, to save cash (I only do this if I definatly know what is wrong) I will explain symptoms and diagnosis to my vet at the counter without my dog present, then I just ask to buy a course of antibiotics which he is happy to sell and he only sell me the required amount. This is alot cheaper than a visit and I feel it is really a waste of money paying for the consultation when it is only a minor thing such as a cut paw we had recently that could not be stitched so I just asked for antibiotics and saved myself at least $50 (I'm not saying KC is minor in anyway). I was also wondering what happens in other countries with boarding if your animal is not vaccinated?? In Australia you cannot board an animal without full vaccination certs. is it the same elsewhere??:D

sammiec June 2nd, 2004 01:40 PM

In Canada your pet must have proof of vaccination (Boardetella) or a boarding house will not take them.... that what I understand - that's Ontario, could be different elsewhere...

PoundPup February 17th, 2006 06:30 PM

I just rescued a young dog a week ago from an overcrowded shelter and he has KC. A lot of sneezing and flinging mucus around from his nose. :yuck: But, when I took him for a vet exam last Monday she said he had a normal temp. and didn't look sick other than the KC. She said as long as he's active and eating and doesn't have a green discharge, she would rather not treat with antibiotics right off the bat. Nine times out of ten it's a viral illness that just needs to go away on its own like a human cold. She said sometimes antibiotics can just make them feel worse.

He is going to be neutered on the 26th of February, so I sure hope he's over this cold soon. I know he can't have anesthesia if he still has symptoms. And, it's been 8 days that he's been here so I'm wondering when our small 8 year old dog will get it. :eek: How long is the incubation period?

Well, I'm going to watch our new dog to see how his Sx go. I sure am getting tired of him flinging "snot" all over the place, though. :yuck: It's not green. It's either clear or a milky, whitish, pale yellow in color. And, he is not in the least bit listless. His eyes are clear, as well. Just a runny nose and phlegmy cough.

[QUOTE=Carina]Amoxycillin is fine for dogs but DON'T give any to your dogs without a vet's OK! Antibiotics should really only be given when there's a real need anyhow.

Actually, you don't have to treat KC at all, 99% of the time it goes away by itself,like a human cold. Most vets will just tell you to wait it out.[/QUOTE]

Prin February 17th, 2006 08:25 PM

Antibiotics are usually only given if there is a high risk of a secondary infection, like pneumonia.

Usually, in an otherwise healthy dog, it will run its course in under two weeks.

I don't know what the incubation period is, but I know my Boo was in a shelter for 3 hours and got it less than two days later... Then again, it's really dense in the shelter compared with one dog in your home...

Prin February 17th, 2006 08:28 PM

Oh and kennel cough is actually a bacteria, called Bordetella Bronchiseptica, but even so, if your dog can get over it without antibiotics, he'll be stronger for it.

PoundPup February 17th, 2006 11:54 PM

True, I knew it was a bacterial infection. They say that there can be a virus, as well. I guess the vet is counting on it going away on its own. But what I don't understand, if he does have a bacterial infection as well, wouldn't he NEED antibiotics to get rid of that part of it?

I bought some Echinacea and Goldenseal drops, as well as some Echinacea capsule 400 mg. How much do I administer to him? I heard it's good for support to the immune system. Mind you, I'm not a big believer in herbs or supplemental vitamins for myself or my family...but I'm willing to try this on our new little dog who needs to get well for his neutering.

[QUOTE=Prin]Oh and kennel cough is actually a bacteria, called Bordetella Bronchiseptica, but even so, if your dog can get over it without antibiotics, he'll be stronger for it.[/QUOTE]

Prin February 18th, 2006 12:05 AM

I'm not a herbally person either...

The trouble with antibiotics is the more you administer them, the more resistant strains you create. Resistant kennel cough would be a nightmare. I'm not 100% sure if the regular antibiotics are effective against kennel cough though...

Things like pneumonia will not go away on their own, so you need antibiotics. Kennel cough usually does go away on its own, so it's better to take advantage of it while it's there to boost your immunity to it. I mean, my dogs have never been vaccinated for kennel cough, and the two puppies I'm fostering had it for a little bit and my doggies are fine (knock on wood). But like BMDLuver suggested to me, my doggies probably have developed a certain level of immunity because of going to the dog park every day for 3 years...

In the case of bacteria and viruses, usually what doesn't kill you makes you stronger- if you fight it yourself.

LadyFairy89 December 19th, 2006 10:27 PM

i was wondering if it would be ok foe me to give my dog infant cough medicin for kennel cough?



White Wolf December 19th, 2006 10:30 PM

Please don't give any medication without asking your vet first.

Kristin7 December 21st, 2006 06:24 AM

Yes, cats can get it too. I brought my pup home this summer and he had kennel cough. Until my cat got it too, I didn't know that could happen. I wish I had or I would have tried keeping them apart and not let them share water bowls. [url][/url]

Laurie1956 December 24th, 2006 09:20 AM

My cat had kennel cough as a baby and was terribly ill. If you want to know more you can e-mail me. First I knew that cats can get it too.

dogmelissa December 18th, 2007 07:55 PM

I thought I'd revive this, as I'm going through a bout of Canine/Kennel Cough with my dog (Maltese X, 4 yrs old).

Here's a really good article I found on it, which explains the common sources of it and why most vets prescribe antibiotics.

My little doggy has been coughing for 9 days as of today. I figured it was a cold/kennel cough and was fine with just keeping him home and giving him honey to soothe his cough, until Friday when he became listless, didn't want to eat, wasn't drinking much and hadn't defectated all day (he normally poos 2-3 times a day). We toughed it out over the weekend, with me trying to get him to eat rice cooked in chicken broth, soaked kibble, and finally on Sunday force-feeding him a blended mix of rice, chicken broth, mushed kibble & plain yogurt. I only got about 1.5 oz into him, but not long after that he went outside and poo'ed, so I felt better. I did, however, take him to the vet today just to make sure that he didn't have anything more severe than Canine Cough as I'd read an article about coughing in dogs and wanted to make sure he was ok.

So now it's a confirmed case of Canine Cough, which most article (and my vet) agreed usually runs itself out in a range of 7-21 days. And as this is an average, like in people, there will be some dogs who get better in less than 7 days and some who take more than 21. I'm hoping Cube's is almost done!!

My vet gave me Clavamox (antibiotic) to prevent his viral infection from turning into a bacterial one (which can result in pneumonia), however, I am going to hold off on giving it to him unless he seems to get worse, as I do not want resistant bacteria.
She also prescribed Dextromethorphan (cough syrup) to ease his symptoms, but because of his size, I had to buy the children's version, which is flavoured and he doesn't like it. I will most likely switch back to the honey I was giving him previously, or buy some of the herbal cough syrup I've used before (the brand I'm familiar with is Nin Jiom: [url][/url] ).

So this brings me to the other thing... I have been working at a doggie daycare, and Cube has been coming with me. I know this is where he picked it up, because this particular place does not require vaccinations for Canine Cough because they are under the impression that it is caused by as many different viruses as the Common Cold in humans. I've read a lot about Canine Cough in the last few days and don't personally believe that it is caused by that many things, however, Cube *has* been vaccinated for Canine Cough--Jan/07--and the majority of dogs lose their vaccination immunity to Canine Cough sometime between 6-12 months after vaccinating. The AHT at the clinic told me most of the dogs they see with it come in around 10 months after vaccination. The other thing to note is that the most severe cases (where it turns into pneumonia and other complications) happen in dogs that are NOT vaccinated for it at all, which tells me that even if it doesn't offer 100% protection, if it will lessen his symptoms should he contract it, that's worth it to me. Please note that in the article I posted earlier, it says that animals can continue to pass the Bordatella virus on up to 14 weeks after initial infection; though my vet said he would be ok to be around other dogs (back at daycare) after New Years (another 2 weeks). My thought on that: if people are going to choose not to vaccinate their dog against something, then as long as Cube is happy and showing no symptoms, he will go to daycare with me--and if other dogs get Canine Cough from him, well, I can't help it. Cube is due for his annual vaccines in January and he will be getting the Canine Cough vaccine again--however, I think I will take him back in July for a second round of it.

Anyhow... hope that helps someone. Here's hoping speedy recoveries to all affected animals and strong protection for all healthy/vaccinated ones.


DaisyZFun December 26th, 2007 01:28 AM

My dog was just diaganosed with kennel cough yesterday. I live in an apartment so the vet said she probably picked it up there even though she really doesn't have any other direct contact with other dogs.

However, I just got over pneumonia. My pneumonia started as a adenovirus? first. Is is possible that Daisy got this from me? :shrug:

dogboston February 17th, 2008 05:28 PM

Kennel cough, known medically as infectious tracheobronchitis, is a disease in dogs characterized by the presence of a dry or harsh cough. It results from an infection of the dog’s respiratory system, resulting in inflammation. Kennel cough is named as such because the disease can spread rapidly from one dog to another, especially when they live in the same quarters, such as in a kennel.

lilli March 28th, 2008 02:43 PM

kennel cough
I found out today that giving my Fox Terrier 6 small bites of hard frozen icecream, relieves his cough for about an hour. Thought someone would like to know. Lil

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