If your dog is constantly making noises that sound as if it were choking on something or if it’s always making coughing noises, it may have a case of kennel cough or what’s technically known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis. This can sound terrible and make you worry about what’s happening with the dog but is typically not a very serious condition and dogs generally recover without receiving any treatment. However, I felt that people whose dogs were coughing constantly would be worried so I thought I would post information about this disease so my readers would better understand it. I found this great article about kennel cough on the website WebMD …
What is kennel cough?
Just as human colds may be caused by many different viruses, kennel cough itself can have multiple causes. One of the most common culprits is a bacterium calledBordetella bronchiseptica m– which is why kennel cough is often called Bordetella. Most dogs that become infected with Bordetella are infected with a virus at the same time. These viruses, which are known to make dogs more susceptible to contracting Bordetella infection, include canine adenovirus, canine distemper virus, canine herpes virus, parainfluenza virus and canine reovirus.
Dogs “catch” kennel cough when they inhale bacteria or virus particles into their respiratory tract. This tract is normally lined with a coating of mucus that traps infectious particles, but there are a number of factors that can weaken this protection and make dogs prone to kennel cough infection, which results in inflammation of the larynx (voice box) and trachea (windpipe).
These factors include:
- Exposure to crowded and/or poorly ventilated conditions, such as are found in many kennels and shelters
- Cold temperatures
- Exposure to dust and/or cigarette smoke
- Travel-induced stress
Kennel cough symptoms
The classic symptom of kennel cough is a persistent, forceful cough. This is distinct from a cough-like sound made by some dogs, especially little ones, which is called a reverse sneeze. Reverse sneezes can be normal in certain dogs and breeds, and usually only indicates the presence of post-nasal drip or a slightirritation of the throat.
If your dog has kennel cough, he probably will not lose his appetite or have a decreased energy level.
Treating and preventing kennel cough
Kennel cough is contagious. If you think your dog might have the condition, you should keep him away from other animals and contact your veterinarian.
Although most cases of kennel cough will resolve without treatment, medications may speed recovery or minimize symptoms during the course of infection. These include antibiotics that target Bordetella bacteria and cough medicines.
You may also find that keeping your dog in a well-humidified area and using a harness instead of a collar, especially for dogs that strain against a leash, will minimize the coughing.
Most dogs with kennel cough recover completely within three weeks, though it can take up to six weeks in older dogs or those with other medical conditions. Because serious, ongoing kennel cough infection can lead to pneumonia, be sure to follow up with your veterinarian if your dog doesn’t improve within the expected amount of time. Also, if your dog at any time has symptoms of rapid breathing, not eating, or listlessness, contact your vet right away, as these could be signs of more serious conditions.