What is it?
Kennel Cough is an infectious bronchitis of dogs characterized by a harsh, hacking cough that most people describe as sounding like “something stuck in my dog’s throat.” This bronchitis may be of brief duration and mild enough to warrant no treatment at all, but can occasionally progress to a secondary upper respiratory tract bacterial infection or a more serious pneumonia.
Numerous organisms may be involved, including both viral and bacterial agents.
How serious is it?
An uncomplicated kennel cough runs a course of a week or two and entails frequent fits of coughing in a patient who otherwise feels active and normal.Uncomplicated cases do not involve fever or listlessness, just lots of coughing.
How is it spread?
Kennel cough is a very infectious disease spread through an animal's respiratory secretions which get aerosolized into the air. Classically, dogs get infected when they are kept in a crowded situations, or socialize with a lot of other dogs. The warm humid environment also contributes to its spread.
What can we do?
An uncomplicated case of kennel cough will go away by itself. Cough suppressants can improve patient comfort while the infection is resolving.The dog should be clearly improved, if not recovered, after about a week. That being said, if your dog is off their food, lethargic or less active, or develops a snotty nose, they may have a complicated infection which will need treatment. Make an appointment with your local vet if any of these signs are evident. Similarly, if the cough hasn’t improved after a week or two, a check up is advised as there may be an underlying problem.
How can we avoid it?
Kennel cough vaccinations are available for some of the components of kennel cough. This vaccine doesnt necessarily stop your dog from getting infected, but can reduce the associated symptoms. However, the vaccination is not useful in dogs which are already incubating the infection. If your dog has kennel cough, avoid allowing them to be in contact with lots of other dogs, this will help prevent the spread of the disease.
If you have any concerns at all, please make an appointment with your local vet