What Is Kennel Cough?
Kennel Cough (also known as canine infectious trachea bronchitis) is a highly contagious respiratory disease. Dogs commonly contract kennel cough at places where large amounts of canines congregate, such as boarding and daycare facilities, dog parks, training groups, and dog shows. Dogs can spread it to one another through airborne droplets, direct contact (e.g., touching noses), or contaminated surfaces (including water/food bowls). It’s highly treatable in most dogs but can be more severe in puppies younger than six months of age and immune-compromised dogs.
What are the Symptoms of Kennel Cough?
If your dog is affected with kennel cough, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- a strong cough, often with a “honking” sound – this is the most obvious symptom
- runny nose
- loss of appetite
- low fever
Although kennel cough is easily treatable in healthy dogs, but it is important to report a coughing symptom to your veterinarian because it could be a sign of a more serious disease.
“The canine distemper virus and canine influenza virus both start off with symptoms nearly identical to kennel cough,” he said. Other conditions that can cause coughing include a collapsing trachea, bronchitis, asthma, and even heart disease.
How Is Kennel Cough Treated?
Typically, mild cases of kennel cough are treated with a week or two of rest, but a veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection and cough medication to ease the symptoms.
“Nebulizers and vaporizers utilizing inhaled antibiotics or bronchodilators have been reported to be beneficial but are usually not prescribed”. Speak to your veterinarian for treatment recommendations. Also, it’s helpful for owners to use a harness rather than a collar to walk a dog with kennel cough because irritation of the tracheal can aggravate the cough and possibly even cause damage to the trachea. If you have a household with multiple pets and one shows signs of a cough, chances are all dogs in the home have been exposed.
Can Kennel Cough Be Prevented?
A vaccine is available for the bordetella bacterium, which is the most common agent to cause kennel cough. Dogs who are frequently boarded, visit doggie day care, compete in canine sports, or otherwise are exposed to large groups of dogs may benefit from the vaccine, and many training, boarding, and daycare facilities require proof of vaccination. The vaccine is available in oral, intranasal, and injectable forms, and depending on the form, it is usually initially given in two doses two to four weeks apart, followed by a booster every six months to a year.
Although most cases of kennel cough are caused by bordetella, some are caused by other agents, including the bacteria bordetella bronchiseptica, canine adenovirus type 2, canine parainfluenza virus, canine respiratory corona-virus, and mycoplasmas, so the vaccine may not prevent your dog from catching the disease.
If you notice your pet coughing or if you plan to introduce your dog to large groups of animals, speak with your veterinarian.
Home Remedies for Kennel Cough
Treating and curing this condition with home remedies for kennel cough is not really as hard as you think – you can even do this at home without spending too much money. It is pretty much like the common cold for humans so it is going to be easy for you to treat it. Here are a bunch of good home remedies for kennel cough:
- Probiotics – these supplements and foods have great nutritional value not just for humans but also for our four-legged friends. Their task is to wipe out bad bacteria in your pet’s immune system, making him feel better and more alive. Probiotics for dogs can come in supplement form. Also, antibiotics can be recommended by your vet as a medical prescription. In this case of prescription, make sure to wait for at least 2 hours after giving the antibiotic, before giving the probiotic medicine to your dog, because antibiotics and probiotics are as we know at war with each other.
- Honey – this is another dog-friendly home remedy for kennel cough. It gives your pet a relief from the nasal discharge that comes with the kennel cough, and is a very sweet treat for your dog to enjoy. One tablespoon of honey twice a day should work for your dog and heal his kennel cough. Also, be sure to feed him raw honey, not ones with preservatives and artificial flavorings.
- Cough syrup – as with humans, dogs also have a decongestant cough syrup that can heal their kennel cough. Good products may include Nature’s Way products (Sambucus and Umcka Cold Care). Also, make sure that it has a good flavor that your dog will love, to make him heal faster. One teaspoon of syrup three times a day (depending on your dog’s size and age) will do.
- Cinnamon – this is another good food supplement for your dog to be healed of kennel cough. You can sprinkle cinnamon over your dog’s food or daily meals. Cinnamon has antiviral properties which can heal your dog faster.
- Coconut Oil – as coconut products are being the fad these days when it comes to home remedies and natural healing, coconut oil is no exception, even for dogs. As Kennel cough is caused by the Bordetella virus, coco oil has a good formula for exterminating it, because it is also antiviral like cinnamon. You can either pour it down his bowl of food or have him directly get spoonfuls of it. Your dog will love the fragrant smell and aroma of coco oil. These home remedies for kennel cough do work so give them a try when the need arises.
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