Kennel cough is a common problem in dogs. In this article, we'll discuss what exactly kennel cough is, what the symptoms are, how it's diagnosed and treated, and how you can prevent it. We end with a conclusion and some frequently asked questions.
What is Kennel Cough?
Causes of kennel cough
Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs, caused by various viruses and bacteria. The most common pathogens are the parainfluenza virus and the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica.
Different types of kennel cough
There are different forms of kennel cough depending on the causative pathogens. Some forms are mild, while others can be more serious and lead to complications.
Symptoms of kennel cough
The most common symptoms of kennel cough are:
- Dry, hoarse cough
- Coughing with a 'goose sound'
- Retching or vomiting after coughing
- Loss of appetite
- Decreased energy
Less common symptoms
In some cases, dogs with kennel cough may also experience:
- Nasal discharge
- Eye discharge
Kennel Cough Diagnosis
The diagnosis of kennel cough is usually made based on the dog's symptoms and medical history. The vet may also perform additional tests to identify the specific pathogen and rule out other conditions that may cause similar symptoms.
Treatment of kennel cough
Depending on the severity of the symptoms and the causative pathogen, the vet may prescribe medication to treat the infection. This may include antibiotics if a bacterial infection is present, or cough suppressants to relieve the cough. In some cases, an anti-inflammatory medication may also be helpful.
In addition to medication, there are some additional measures you can take to help your dog recover from kennel cough:
- Provide a calm and comfortable environment for your dog to recover.
- Limit physical activity, such as long walks or vigorous play, until the cough clears.
- Ensure adequate hydration by always giving your dog access to fresh water.
It is important to take preventative measures to prevent kennel cough. Vaccination is the most important preventive measure, but hygiene and stress reduction also play a role.
How Long Does Kennel Cough Last?
The duration of kennel cough varies depending on the severity of the infection and the dog's overall health. In most cases, dogs recover within 1 to 3 weeks. However, in some cases it may take longer, especially if complications arise.
What to do if your dog has kennel cough
If you suspect your dog has kennel cough, it is important to contact your vet as soon as possible. They can make the correct diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment. Also, avoid contact with other dogs to avoid spreading the disease.
Complications of kennel cough
In some cases, kennel cough can lead to complications, such as pneumonia or chronic bronchitis. This is more common in young dogs, older dogs or dogs with a weakened immune system. It is important to keep a close eye on your dog and to contact the vet immediately if it worsens.
How contagious is kennel cough?
Kennel cough is highly contagious and can spread quickly between dogs, especially in close contact, such as in kennels, dog schools, pet stores or dog playgrounds. It is mainly transmitted through direct contact, coughing or sneezing, and through contaminated objects such as water bowls, toys or collars.
How to Prevent Kennel Cough
Vaccination is one of the most important ways to prevent kennel cough. Several vaccines are available that protect against the most common pathogens that cause kennel cough. Discuss with your veterinarian which vaccine is most suitable for your dog and keep the vaccination schedule up to date.
Maintaining good hygiene can help prevent the spread of kennel cough. Regularly clean your dog's environment, such as the crate, toys and food bowls. Also avoid sharing water bowls with other dogs in public places.
A weakened immune system can make dogs more susceptible to kennel cough. Provide a stress-free environment by giving your dog plenty of rest, a comfortable place to sleep and a balanced diet.
What to do if your dog has been in contact with an infected dog
If your dog has been in contact with a dog with kennel cough, contact your vet for advice. They may recommend watching your dog closely for signs of kennel cough and possibly taking preventative measures, such as an additional vaccination or medication.
Kennel cough is a common and contagious respiratory disease in dogs. Although it is usually mild, complications can arise. By being aware of the symptoms, treatments, and preventive measures, you can keep your dog healthy and happy. When in doubt, always contact your vet for advice.
- Is kennel cough dangerous for humans?
While kennel cough is rarely transmitted to humans, some pathogens, such as the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica, can rarely cause infection in humans. This usually occurs in people with a weakened immune system.
- Can my cat get kennel cough?
Cats can also get kennel cough in rare cases, especially if they are in close contact with infected dogs. The symptoms are similar to those in dogs. If you suspect your cat has kennel cough, contact your vet.
- Can my dog get kennel cough again after having it once?
Yes, dogs can get kennel cough again, even if they've had it before. This is because there are several pathogens that can cause kennel cough, and the immunity built up after an infection is often short-lived.
- How often should my dog be vaccinated against kennel cough?
The frequency of kennel cough vaccination varies depending on the vaccine and your dog's lifestyle. It is generally recommended that dogs be vaccinated annually, but in some cases your vet may recommend more frequent vaccinations, especially if your dog is frequently exposed to high-risk situations, such as kennels or dog shows. Consult your veterinarian for an appropriate vaccination schedule.
- Is it mandatory to have my dog vaccinated against kennel cough?
While vaccination against kennel cough is not required by law, it may be required in some situations. For example, many kennels, dog walking services and dog training centers require dogs to be vaccinated against kennel cough before using their services. It is strongly recommended that you have your dog vaccinated to protect against this contagious disease and limit its spread.