Managing Kennel Cough in Dogs - Symptoms, Treatment and Home Remedies
Kennel cough is a common illness that affects dogs of all ages, breeds and sizes. It's a respiratory infection that is highly contagious and affects the trachea and bronchi (tubes leading to the lungs). It quickly spreads in places where dogs congregate, such as kennels, dog parks, and grooming facilities (hence the name kennel cough). It affects the cilia within an infected dog's airways, causing high-pitched coughing. It is necessary for the cilia to remain healthy, for it blocks dust and other infectious bacteria, which keeps your dog healthy. Also known as Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC), this illness is similar to the common cold in humans, similar to how we are unable to stop the mucus secretion in our noses. Thus, in this article, we'll discuss what kennel cough is, its symptoms, preventions, and treatment options.
Kennel cough is easy to identify by its telltale honking cough. It can sound like a goose honking or a seal barking. This usually happens when the dog is excited or when gentle pressure is applied to its neck. It may also happen when you tug on your dog’s leash. This is a sign for you to check for the other symptoms and contact a vet. Keep in mind that it is always best to quarantine your new puppies since symptoms usually develop between two and ten days after exposure.
Other symptoms include:
- Nasal or eye discharge (rare)
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargy or little energy
- Low-grade fever
If these symptoms persist for more than 24 hours, make sure to book a consultation with a vet. It is good manners to call beforehand and let them know that you suspect kennel cough so that the vet clinic can be adequately prepared and isolate the clinic in order to accidentally not infect other dogs. With Kuddle, you can schedule a vet visit or video vet consultation for an even safer experience.
Preventing kennel cough is essential as it is highly contagious. Kennel cough spreads through the saliva and nasal secretions. It can happen through direct contact when your puppy sniffs or licks an infected dog or a contaminated object in its environment. So, make sure to keep an eye on your dog for any symptoms of such sort, especially if the dog they’re socialising with has recently been brought into the family. If your dog is regularly boarded, vaccinated or goes to dog parks, consider vaccinating them against kennel cough since many such facilities ask for proof of vaccine. The kennel cough vaccine is available in oral, nasal, and injectable forms. It is important to note that vaccination doesn't guarantee 100% protection, but it does reduce the severity of the illness.
Note: If you are immunocompromised, make sure to inform your vet, for it can affect the vaccine your pet receives. Dogs of immunocompromised people should receive the killed B. bronchiseptica vaccine and not the regular one.
Most dogs recover from kennel cough within 1-2 weeks without treatment. However, in some cases, antibiotics may be necessary to fight bacterial infections that can develop secondary to kennel cough. Anti-inflammatory medications can also be prescribed to relieve inflammation and ease coughing. Make sure to consult a vet before buying any medication. In severe cases, it may lead to pneumonia and require hospitalization, so be cautious.
When your furry little friend is congested, there are natural remedies to help ease their symptoms during recovery.
- To start, you can give your dog a hot shower steam. Bring them into the bathroom with you and run the hot shower to fill the air with steam. A ten-minute session several times a day will work wonders, but be careful not to exceed this duration, as too much hot, moist air can make it difficult for some pets to breathe, especially short-faced bulldogs and pugs. Do this activity in a monitored way and the pet should not be left alone during this activity even for a few minutes. If you notice any discomfort or difficulty breathing, stop the activity and take them to an open ventilated space.
- Additionally, you can use warm washcloths or cotton balls to soak and soften eye or nose secretions and wipe them off gently. Avoid peeling off any dried mucus, as this can hurt or damage the skin.
- Make sure that your furry friend is fed all their meals. They may refuse to eat due to their poor appetite but consult a vet or a pet nutritionist on ways to make the meal more appetizing for your dog. If their appetite does not improve, visit a vet within the next 24 hours.
- Finally, make sure to give your pet friend lots of love, hugs and pats. Do not hold back! There are no recorded cases of human beings having been infected due to exposure to a dog with kennel cough.
In conclusion, kennel cough is a common illness in dogs that can be easily prevented through vaccination and proper hygiene. While it can be uncomfortable for your furry friend, it is usually not a serious illness. If you suspect your dog has kennel cough, isolate them from other dogs and monitor their symptoms. If symptoms persist or worsen, contact a veterinarian. Remember, a healthy dog is a happy dog.