Kennel cough, as the name suggests, commonly affects dogs who stay in kennels or other boarding facilities. However, it’s not just limited to such places as dogs can also get infected in the comfort of their own homes. It is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by different types of bacteria and viruses, the most common being Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza virus. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about kennel cough, including its causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention strategies.
Understanding Kennel Cough: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Kennel cough is an airborne disease that spreads when a dog comes in contact with nasal or oral secretions from infected dogs. This can happen when they come in close contact with other dogs at a park, grooming salon, or even through shared water or food bowls. The incubation period for kennel cough is usually between three to ten days, after which the symptoms start appearing.
The most common symptoms include a dry, hacking cough that sounds like honking, retching, and gagging. Dogs with kennel cough may also exhibit runny nose, sneezing, fever, and loss of appetite. In severe cases, kennel cough can cause pneumonia, which may require hospitalization and intensive medical care.
If you suspect your dog has kennel cough, it’s essential to seek veterinary care immediately. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics to treat bacterial infections or cough suppressants and anti-inflammatory medication to alleviate symptoms. Additionally, it’s crucial to restrict your dog’s physical activity and provide them with plenty of rest to help them recover.
Prevention is key when it comes to kennel cough. Vaccination is available for some of the most common causes of kennel cough, including Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza virus. It’s also important to practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands after handling other dogs and disinfecting shared items like water bowls and toys. If your dog is showing symptoms of kennel cough, it’s best to keep them away from other dogs until they have fully recovered to prevent the spread of the disease.
Common Myths About Kennel Cough Debunked
There are several myths surrounding kennel cough that can be misleading for pet owners. One of the most common myths is that only purebred or show dogs can get kennel cough, which is entirely false. Any dog, regardless of their breed or age, can get infected with kennel cough.
Another common misconception is that kennel cough is just a minor condition that doesn’t require medical attention. While some dogs may recover from kennel cough on their own, it’s always best to seek veterinary care to ensure that the infection doesn’t progress into something more severe.
Additionally, another myth about kennel cough is that it can only be contracted in kennels or boarding facilities. While these places can be hotspots for the spread of kennel cough, dogs can also contract the infection in other public places where they come into contact with other dogs, such as parks or on walks. It’s important for pet owners to be aware of this and take precautions to protect their dogs, such as avoiding crowded areas or ensuring their dog is up to date on vaccinations.
How to Prevent Your Dog from Getting Kennel Cough
The best way to prevent kennel cough is to ensure that your dog receives a combination vaccine that protects against Bordetella and other respiratory infections. Additionally, you can practice good hygiene habits, such as regularly cleaning and sanitizing your dog’s toys and beds as well as avoiding contact with infected dogs.
If your dog needs to stay in boarding facilities, it’s essential to ensure that the facility follows proper sanitation practices and requires all dogs to be vaccinated against kennel cough.
Another way to prevent kennel cough is to avoid exposing your dog to stressful situations, as stress can weaken their immune system and make them more susceptible to infections. Make sure your dog gets enough exercise and mental stimulation, and provide them with a comfortable and safe environment at home.
When to See a Vet for Kennel Cough
As mentioned earlier, it’s best to seek veterinary care at the first sign of kennel cough symptoms. However, there are some situations where immediate medical attention is necessary. If your dog is experiencing difficulty breathing, has a high fever, or is showing signs of lethargy or dehydration, you should take them to the vet immediately.
It’s important to note that kennel cough can sometimes lead to more serious respiratory infections, such as pneumonia. If your dog’s symptoms persist for more than a week or if they seem to be getting worse, it’s also important to seek veterinary care. Your vet may recommend additional testing or prescribe antibiotics to help your dog recover more quickly. Remember, early intervention is key to preventing more serious complications from kennel cough.
Natural Remedies for Treating Kennel Cough in Dogs
In addition to medical treatment, there are some natural remedies that can help alleviate the symptoms of kennel cough. These include providing your dog with a warm and humid environment, using a humidifier, and giving them honey or herbal teas to soothe their throat. However, it’s essential to talk to your vet before trying any natural remedies to ensure that they don’t interfere with any medical treatment your dog may be receiving.
Another natural remedy for kennel cough is using essential oils. Eucalyptus and lavender oils can help soothe your dog’s throat and reduce inflammation. However, it’s crucial to dilute the oils properly and avoid using them near your dog’s eyes or nose. Additionally, you can try giving your dog probiotics to boost their immune system and help fight off the infection causing kennel cough.
It’s also important to keep your dog hydrated when they have kennel cough. Make sure they have access to plenty of fresh water and consider adding some electrolytes to their water bowl to help replenish any fluids they may have lost. Lastly, try to keep your dog calm and relaxed as stress can weaken their immune system and make it harder for them to fight off the infection.
Can Humans Catch Kennel Cough from Dogs?
While it’s rare, humans can contract kennel cough from dogs. However, the infection usually resolves on its own within a few days, just like a common cold.
It’s important to note that people with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly, young children, and those with chronic illnesses, may be more susceptible to complications from kennel cough. In these cases, it’s best to avoid contact with infected dogs and seek medical attention if symptoms persist or worsen.
The Importance of Vaccinating Your Dog Against Kennel Cough
Vaccinating your dog against kennel cough is essential to prevent them from getting infected in the first place. The vaccine provides immunity to several strains of Bordetella, as well as parainfluenza virus, decreasing the likelihood of your dog getting kennel cough.
Additionally, vaccinating your dog against kennel cough not only protects your own pet, but also helps prevent the spread of the disease to other dogs. Kennel cough is highly contagious and can easily spread through contact with infected dogs or contaminated surfaces. By vaccinating your dog, you are doing your part to keep the entire dog community healthy and safe.
Is Kennel Cough Contagious to Other Dogs in the Neighborhood?
Yes, kennel cough is highly contagious, and it can spread easily to other dogs in the neighborhood through close contact. As such, it’s crucial to keep your dog away from other dogs until they fully recover to prevent the infection from spreading.
Kennel cough is caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria, including the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria and the parainfluenza virus. These pathogens can be transmitted through the air, contaminated surfaces, and direct contact with infected dogs.
Symptoms of kennel cough include a persistent cough, sneezing, runny nose, and fever. If your dog shows any of these symptoms, it’s essential to take them to the vet for diagnosis and treatment. Treatment may include antibiotics, cough suppressants, and rest.
How Long Does It Take for a Dog to Recover from Kennel Cough?
The recovery time for kennel cough can vary depending on the severity of the infection. Some dogs may recover fully within a few days, while others may take several weeks. It’s essential to follow your vet’s instructions closely to ensure that your dog gets the care and rest they need to recover fully.
In conclusion, kennel cough is a common respiratory infection that can affect dogs of all ages and breeds. By understanding its causes, symptoms, and treatment options, you can take the necessary steps to prevent your dog from getting infected and provide them with the care they need to recover fully.
It’s important to note that even after a dog has recovered from kennel cough, they may still be contagious for up to six weeks. During this time, it’s best to keep them away from other dogs to prevent the spread of the infection. Additionally, if your dog has a weakened immune system or underlying health conditions, their recovery time may be longer, and they may require additional medical attention.