Kennel cough, also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a contagious upper respiratory tract infection commonly seen among dogs that are confined to enclosed spaces.
Kennel cough is mild in adult dogs, but puppies, older dogs, and dogs with a weak immune system are likely to be affected severely. It is caused by a variety of infectious organisms.
The most common organism is the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica. Other causative agents include viruses such as the parainfluenza virus and adenovirus and bacteria belonging to the genus Mycoplasma.
These microbes are airborne and are carried by tiny droplets or dust particles. They are also transmitted through direct contact and contaminated surfaces.
Symptoms of Kennel Cough in Dogs
The infection causes superficial damage to the lining of the trachea (windpipe), sufficiently exposing the nerve endings, and leads to irritation as air passes.
Thus, kennel cough in dogs primarily presents as a forceful, hacking cough that is hoarse and dry, or productive; it occurs every few minutes and all day long.
Certain uncommon symptoms of kennel cough include fever, runny nose, sneezing, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
Isolate your dog from other pets (if any) at the first sign of infection.
Provide an adequately ventilated space for your dog during recovery. Also, removing the collar will help calm the irritated throat.
Treatment for Kennel Cough
Most dogs contracting kennel cough present with mild symptoms that subside within a week or two.
However, it is recommended to have your dog examined, if the cough persists beyond a week.
Cough suppressants and antibiotics are usually prescribed for symptomatic relief.
Dogs should be vaccinated against B bronchiseptica during the initial vaccination course.
Also, exposure of vulnerable dogs to environments such as pet care centers or kennels and dog shows should be limited.
Source: All About Pets. Kennel Cough. 2021;1(3):8.
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