Are there other symptoms of kennel cough besides a cough?
In most cases, dogs with kennel cough will appear healthy apart from coughing. But some dogs will have a runny nose, sneezing or eye discharge. They should retain their appetite.
Is there a treatment for kennel cough?
In most cases, dogs will recover from kennel cough without treatment within three weeks, but it can sometimes linger for anything up to six weeks. To aid recovery, make sure your home is well ventilated and avoid using a collar and lead, as any pulling might aggravate the wind pipe further – a harness is a better option on walks. Should treatment be given, antibiotics can kill the Bordetella bacteria – the most common present in kennel cough cases. Cough suppressants and anti-inflammatories can also be given to make your pet a bit more comfortable as they make a natural recovery.
How can dogs catch kennel cough?
Kennel cough is airborne and highly contagious, which is why it can spread through kennels quickly. It is also transmitted with bacteria on toys, food bowls or other shared objects.
A dog’s respiratory system is designed to protect against the invasion of infection, but certain situations and environments leave them more vulnerable to illness. These include stress caused by crowded environments, exposure to heavy dust or cigarette smoke, cold temperatures and poor ventilation. Kennel cough has an incubation period of two to 14 days, and some dogs can be carriers of the infection for months without developing symptoms.
There is no single test to diagnose kennel cough. Usually, if your dog has symptoms and has been exposed to a crowd of other canines within the incubation period, it’s adequate to diagnose them with kennel cough. Swabs can be taken to determine the exact virus or bacteria causing kennel cough – although this isn’t always useful for treatment. If there are suspected complications, radiographs can be used to assess a dog’s condition.
If your dog is bright, perky, eating well and playful, you may not need to visit the vet. But always phone for advice if you are worried and advise the clinic on arrival that your dog has been coughing – it’s best if they wait somewhere other than a crowded waiting room. In general, its a good idea to keep your dog away from other dogs while they are coughing.