Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory infection that affects dogs of all ages, breeds and sizes. Also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, it is caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria and is commonly spread in areas where dogs congregate, such as kennels, dog parks and grooming facilities. In this article, we will discuss kennel cough in detail, including its symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment options.
What Causes Kennel Cough?
Kennel cough is caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria, most commonly Bordetella bronchiseptica. Other viruses that can contribute to kennel cough include parainfluenza virus, adenovirus and distemper virus. These microorganisms can be spread through the air when an infected dog coughs or sneezes, or through direct contact with contaminated surfaces.
Although kennel cough can affect dogs of all ages, it is most common in puppies and dogs with weakened immune systems. Factors that can weaken a dog’s immune system include stress, poor nutrition, and exposure to other illnesses.
Symptoms of Kennel Cough
The most common symptom of kennel cough is a persistent, dry cough that may sound like honking. Other symptoms may include:
- Runny nose and eyes
- Loss of appetite
In severe cases, kennel cough can lead to pneumonia, which can be life-threatening, especially in young puppies and older dogs.
Prevention of Kennel Cough
The best way to prevent kennel cough is to keep your dog away from other dogs that may be infected. If your dog must be around other dogs, make sure he is up-to-date on all his vaccinations, including the Bordetella vaccine. It is also important to keep your dog’s immune system strong by providing him with a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and regular veterinary care.
If you own a kennel or grooming facility, it is important to maintain a clean environment and to require all dogs to be vaccinated against kennel cough before entering.
Treatment of Kennel Cough
Mild cases of kennel cough can be treated at home with rest and plenty of fluids. Your veterinarian may also prescribe antibiotics to treat any bacterial infections that may be present. In more severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary to provide oxygen therapy and intravenous fluids.
If your dog has been diagnosed with kennel cough, it is important to keep him isolated from other dogs until he is fully recovered to prevent the spread of the infection.
Kennel cough is a common respiratory infection that can affect dogs of all ages and breeds. While the symptoms can be uncomfortable for your pet, the infection is usually mild and can be treated with rest and antibiotics. By taking preventative measures, such as keeping your dog up-to-date on vaccinations and maintaining a clean environment, you can help to reduce the risk of your dog contracting kennel cough.