Kennel Cough

What Is Kennel Cough?
Kennel Cough affects the Upper Respiratory System. Kennel Cough is an inflammation of the larynx (voice box) and trachea (windpipe). Kennel cough is usually very easy to diagnose and treat. 

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What Are The Symptoms of Kennel Cough?
Most people describe the sound like a harsh, loud, forceful, dry hacking & coughing noise. Many people say it sounds like their dog has something stuck in their throat. In More Rare cases the dog will even have dry heaves, retching, or even some white frothy material may also come up (but usually the only symptom is the coughing). The cough can often be triggered if you gently press the region of the throat where the trachea is, which is why collars or anything rubbing against their throat can aggravate it. The coughing is sporadic and some dogs cough more frequently than others. Dogs with kennel cough have NO fever or listlessness. They act completely normal, active, playful, alert, and eat fine. Again, the only real "symptom" is the coughing ~ So if the dog has any color of nasal or eye discharge, lethargy, loss of appetite, a wet rattly sound or coughing up green phlegm it may be something more serious than just kennel cough. When a dog or puppy has kennel cough, sometimes a secondary bacterial infection can lead to an upper respiratory infection which can also turn into pneumonia if you ignore it too long.

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How Do Dogs Get Kennel Cough?
First, let me say ~ if you just bought a puppy & had to have it shipped to you ~ then its chances are increased to the possibility of contracting Kennel cough from possible exposure while being boarded on the flight. Kennel Cough is airborne, which means the dog breaths in the bacteria or virus particle into their respiratory tract which then aggravates it. Normally the dogs respiratory tract is lined with mucus that traps alien particles from making the dog sick. But things like veterinary hospitals & waiting rooms, grooming parlor, cold temperatures, dust, cigarette smoke, and crowded or poorly ventilated conditions like kennels, boarding facilities, shelters, doggie day care centers, shipping a dog in cargo on a plane etc.........all can weaken this protection of the mucus and therefore make it easy for the dog to pick up airborne diseases like kennel cough. Kennel cough is common, so don't panic if your dog or puppy has been diagnosed with it.

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Is Kennel Cough Contagious?
YES. EXTREMELY CONTAGIOUS! Kennel cough is highly contagious & very easy for dogs to pick up, which is why it's so common. It's in the air. If you have a new dog or puppy coming to live with you that might have kennel cough, it would be smart to take your pets to the vet and have them vaccinated with bordetalla at least a few days BEFORE the new dog or puppy arrives. This will not guarantee that your pets won't get kennel cough, but it will reduce their chances. ALL ages of dogs are at risk for picking it up. Just an FYI, the nasal drip vaccination gives faster protection over the actual shot. Also, if there is anyway you can have the new dog also vaccinated with bordetalla before you introduce it to your pets and home, that would be ideal as well.

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How Do They Treat Kennel Cough?
Sometimes kennel cough can resolve itself within a short time, but I have seen it go on for weeks and even months. However, to ease the coughing (which will help speed up recovery and also bring alot of comfort to your pet) a vet may prescribe a cough suppressant or nebulizer. Many vets will even prescribe an antibiotic to protect your pet and lessen the chances of a secondary bacterial infections. (like pneumonia or other types of upper respiratory infections).

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Is There a Way to Prevent Kennel Cough?
There is a intranasal vaccine that is dripped in the nose which can be given to puppies as early as 2 weeks old. Then there is an actual injectable vaccine as well. Your vet will know which one is more suitable for your dog.Just remember, Kennel Cough is VERY VERY common,  easy for dogs to catch it, easy to diagnose & most of the time it resolves itself between 7 ~ 14 days but again, I have also seen it takes MONTHS before the cough fully subsides. It's such a pesty little annoying virus.  We do strongly advise that the pet is seen by a vet to relieve symptoms and to also lessen the chances of picking up a more serious infection. If your pet has been diagnosed with kennel cough, don't panic, just follow the vet's instructions and you should be fine.

Disclaimer: We are NOT licensed vets. DO NOT try to diagnose or treat animals based off this or any other information you find on the internet.  If you pet is having any kind of medical issues, please seek professional treatment from a licensed vet who is trained and set up to handle such matters.
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