My dog has kennel cough!
Having a dog, especially a puppy, can be a very stressful time for dog parents. Puppies are very energetic and love to get in trouble. They run up to any dog they see and are just full of total joy.
As a dog parent, we are responsible for socializing and ensuring that our dogs’ live a balanced life. In order to do that, it is important to socialize dogs’ together with other dogs’. This behaviour is super important for puppies.
Interacting a puppy with other dogs’ of similar age or even older dogs’, is a key component to ensure that your dog understands how to behave around other dogs’. The other dogs’ basically teach your dog what is OK behaviour and what is not.
Now I am sure that you are wondering where I am going with this, especially when you read the title and it is about Kennel Cough. Well here is the connection!
My dog has kennel cough right now, so let’s find out what it is and how it affected FERGUS.
What is it
Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis or as most people call it Kennel Cough. While many use the term “kennel cough” to refer to this respiratory infection, it is caused by the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica. So some people call it Bordetella.
Usually these infections are the work of several infection agents working together to damage the lining of the dogs’ trachea and bronchi. This then causes that area to become irritated and when your dog breathes in and air passes through it can hurt. Which is why your dog starts to cough. The incubation period of this virus can be 2-14 days from the time of contact.
The organism that causes Kennel Cough can be released from the expired air of a dog. Much like how the common cold can be easily transmitted person to person. Dogs can spread the virus from dog to dog through droplets that are airborne.
The spread of kennel cough often happens when there a number of dogs’ in an enclosed environment. All it takes for it to spread is have one infected dog in a crowded and enclosed area to then potentially infect everyone in the room. Especially dogs’ that are more susceptible or not fully vaccinated dogs’ and of course puppies. A dog can spread the disease for days even weeks after seeming like they are totally recovered.
Transmission is ramp id when dogs’ are all together in one area with one infected dog. Even if a dog sniffs the ground that is contaminated, they can inhale the virus up their nose very easily. Dogs that touch noses, drink out of the same water bowl are all ways that Kennel Cough can be transmitted from dog to dog.
One of the easiest ways that you will first realize that your dog may be sick with Kennel Cough is of course THE COUGH! Dogs don’t normally walk around coughing. When a dog coughs, let me tell you, you will know it. It sounds very much like a honk or hoarse sounding choking. The first few times you hear it, you are like what the heck is that. You may even think that your dog has something stuck in their throat or are choking.
This is not the only symptom that your dog may start to show. Watch for things like:
- Runny nose
- Low fever
- Loss of appetite
Your dog may only have 1 or 2 of these symptoms. They don’t have to have all of them to make you think that you don’t have anything to worry about. Although Kennel Cough is easily treated, you still want to ensure your dog sees a Vet because these symptoms could also be a sign of a more serious disease.
These type of symptoms also mirror similar symptoms if your dog has Canine Distemper or Canine Influenza. These diseases can be life threatening, so taking your dog to the Vet, will give you the proper diagnosis if it’s Kennel Cough.
How is it treated
I mentioned earlier that Kennel Cough is a very treatable disease. It first depends on how sick your dog is by the time he goes to the Vet. For the milder cases, a week or two of rest along with regular drinking and eating will be all that is needed. This is if your dog has the cough, but is still acting fairly normal, eating and drinking.
Yes you would still take this dog to the Vet. The Vet can check their breathing, check for a fever and see your dogs’ overall health. In some cases, they Vet will send you home a round of antibiotics to ensure they don’t get a secondary infection like pneumonia as well as treating the bacteria associated with Kennel Cough.
For dogs’ that are much sicker with a fever, lethargic and not drinking or eating, the concern is dehydration. A dog can very quickly get dehydrated. To avoid this from happening your dog may require IV fluids and antibiotics. Depending on if your dog has a fever, your Vet may also give them something to help with bringing down the fever.
There are some over the counter medications like Robitussin cough syrup for dogs’ that may help eleviate some of your dogs’ symptoms. Like anything over the counter, I would always get recommendations from your Vet.
All dogs’ that have Kennel Cough regardless of the severity of their case, needs to be kept away from other dogs’. They are to be isolated for minimum 2 weeks, but longer is recommended. You want to ensure that your dog is no longer capable of passing this virus on to another dog.
Our boy FERGUS…..so his story with Kennel Cough has been a real learning experience. FERGUS is just about 5 mos old and had all his vaccinations. After his finale round of vaccinations, so at about 4 mos old, we decided we wanted to try to social him with other dogs’.
We live in Saskatchewan, which in late February or March is pretty chilly. Due to the weather, we decided to take him to a local indoor dog park. We went 4 days in the 4 weeks, so once a week on the weekends. Depending on the week, there was varying numbers of dogs’ there at one time.
The first 3 times we went was great and FERGUS loved it. The last time we went, there was just too many dogs’ there at once. We got their early, so it started out OK, but then they just kept coming. Just because of the amount of dogs’, we cut our visit a bit short.
Fast forward a week or so, and FERGUS started coughing. The sound is absolutely awful! Then he started sneezing and was very slow going. He was eating and drinking still, but we knew that he likely had gotten Kennel Cough. Of course, we took him to the Vet and yes FERGUS has Kennel Cough. The Vet put him on a round of antibiotics, just to be cautious. He didn’t have a fever, and was still eating and drinking normally.
This was good news, so just isolate him and keep an eye on him, was the finale recommendation of the Vet.
That same day I had talked a friend of mine who was also there with her 2 dogs’ and they were both sick. I told her about FERGUS and she then took her dogs’ to her Vet.
She also mentioned there were 2 other dogs’ that were at the park that day. So sadly this was the source of FERGUS’s Kennel Cough infection. The sheer amount of dogs’ there that day, was unfortunately the cause of the outbreak. Oh and of course 1 sick dog.
That is really the toughest part of all of this, taking your dog to a park and having them get sick, is a bit infuriating. We were just trying to get FERGUS socialized in the safest, warmest environment. Then BOOM a sick dog and a Vet bill.
Luckily FERGUS is taking his last day of antibiotics today and is almost completely back to normal. The cough is pretty much gone and he is no worse for wear.
I mentioned, that I was a bit infuriated by FERGUS getting sick. I want to explain that.
First off, I honestly thought that we had FERGUS protected with all the standard vaccinations required. We assumed that all dogs’ received the Bordetella vaccination as part of the 3 rounds of puppy shots. Well that isn’t the case.
If you want your dog to get that vaccination, you need to request it and of course pay extra for it. Then, even if you get your dog this shot, there are no guarantees that your dog won’t get Kennel Cough.
Just like the flu shot we get every year, it is not the same shot every year. Depending on which flu is big that year, they taylor the shot accordingly. Because Kennel Cough is just like the flu, the shot your dog gets, may not be the right shot to protect them.
There are Vet recommendations that say you should give your dog the vaccination every 6-12 mos. By doing this, you are giving your dog the best chance of protection. Puppies can actually get the first shot as early as 8 weeks old and then a booster 4 weeks later.
Lesson learned on our part. FERGUS will now be vaccinated for Kennel Cough as soon as possible. I always thought that if your dog was fully vaccinated, that you could bring them together for playtime without concern. I am completely changed by this incident.
Is it that I am mad that someone brought a coughing dog to the park, is it the lack of knowledge about the right vaccinations. Honestly I think it is the whole stressful experience. Nodody wants their dog or puppy to be sick. .
How does the saying go…..”When you know better you do better”. Sounds about right!
I hope that you enjoyed reading My dog has Kennel Cough post and I would love to hear your thoughts below.