Kennel cough in dogs
Kennel cough is a disease in dogs that causes inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. Because the name 'kennel cough' suggests that only dogs in a kennel can be infected with this disease, we prefer to speak of Contagious dog cough or the official name: Canine infectious tracheobronchitis.
As the name implies, most dogs with kennel cough will cough. They then let out a typically hard, dry cough, similar to the bark of a seal. We see the disease mainly in puppies and young dogs, but in it can occur in all dogs.
How does my dog get kennel cough?
Kennel cough has several pathogens. The bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica and the virus Parainfluenza are the main causes. Dogs can infect each other through direct contact. The kennel cough can spread so easily and quickly in places where many dogs come together. So think of kennels, boarding houses, dog schools, but also a walking service or busy off-leash area.
What are the symptoms of kennel cough?
The way of coughing is often already characteristic of kennel cough. In addition, dog owners sometimes think that their dog needs to vomit because tough, white mucus is often coughed up and swallowed. It is similar to gagging. Pressure on the throat often triggers a cough reflex. More common cold symptoms may also be visible, such as a runny nose and tearing eyes.
How is kennel cough treated?
Most dogs with kennel cough are not very sick, although the constant coughing is very disturbing. In addition, coughing can further damage the airways, so it is important that the kennel cough is treated properly to prevent chronic airway problems. It may be necessary to give antibiotics to a dog with kennel cough. It can help (at least temporarily) to purchase a chest harness to reduce the pressure on the throat. In addition, try to prevent your dog from barking through play and excitement. For extra support, a cough syrup such as the Bronchofort Cough Syrup can be given. A medicine such as codeine could help too (although it is not always clear how effective these products are with kennel cough). If there is a lot of mucus production, codeine can even slow down recovery. It is important to make sure that the kennel cough does not turn into pneumonia. Dogs can then quickly become ill (sluggish, short of breath with a fever).
Can I prevent kennel cough in my dog?
You can have your dog vaccinated against kennel cough. This can be done with an injection (only against the Parainfluenza virus), or with a special nasal vaccination (a drop in the nose). The nasal vaccination protects against both the Bordetella bacteria and the Parainfluenza virus. So this is preferable to the injection. Also because the nasal vaccination has its effect on the place where the infection occurs, like the nose. Vaccination unfortunately does not offer 100% protection against kennel cough, but it often ensures that a dog becomes less ill and has a faster recovery.
In addition to vaccination, you can of course try to avoid places where many dogs congregate. This is not always possible or desirable.