Kennel Cough in Dogs | Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention
How to Treat Dog Kennel Cough
Kennel cough (canine infectious tracheobronchitis) is a disease that affects the trachea lining, thereby causing minor irritation. A dog with this disease coughs frequently, usually every few minutes and all throughout the day. Although kennel cough is one of the most common infectious diseases among dogs, most cases of kennel cough are minor. Kennel cough tends to disappear on its own after a week or two.
An airborne virus or bacteria is what causes kennel cough, the most common of which is a bacteria known as bordatella bronchiseptica. In order to become infected with the disease, a dog will need to inhale several types of bacteria or virus. Additionally, dogs often contract kennel cough wherever there is a large gathering of dogs, like in kennels or dog shows.
Your dog may have kennel cough if your dog sounds like it is trying to clear its throat whenever it coughs. If you also notice your dog coughing whenever it is exercising or doing some other physical activity, your dog may have kennel cough. The symptoms of kennel cough typically appear a few weeks after your dog has been exposed to other dogs with kennel cough or has inhaled the disease-causing virus or bacteria. If your dog's coughing is severe, your dog may cough continuously and even throw up food or mucus. Take note of the color of the mucus, as its color will indicate the severity of your dog's condition. White mucus is not so severe while green mucus is more serious. If your dog's coughs are accompanied by green mucus, take your dog to the veterinarian right away.
Diagnosing Kennel Cough
To diagnose if your dog indeed has kennel cough, the veterinarian will try to make your dog cough by rubbing its larynx. If your dog's coughs are accompanied by mucus, the veterinarian will order more tests such as an x-ray so he can determine if the cough is the result of pneumonia or distemper.
Kennel Cough Home Treatment
To prevent your dog from developing kennel cough, you will need to strengthen your dog's immune system. There are a number of homeopathic remedies you can try to keep your dog free from kennel cough. You can get this information online or by going to the veterinarian and local pet store. For dogs that already have kennel cough, there are homeopathic treatments that make use of natural ingredients that are known for treating kennel cough. These remedies are believed to reduce the mucus as well as the coughing. Two of these homeopathic ingredients are Plantago lanceolata, a herbal remedy used or expelling mucus, and Bryonia C6, which is known to clear mucus or soothe dry membranes.
You can also give cough suppressant if your dog is coughing frequently or if your dog's coughing is interfering with your dog's and your family's sleep. You can give your dog an antibiotic to prevent secondary infections from developing. However, do not do give your dog antibiotic if its appetite is normal and it is not coughing so frequently. The best recourse in this case is to simply wait for the disease to run its course. Kennel cough goes away by itself if it is only minor or moderate, in which case you shouldn't need to give your dog treatment. But if your dog's coughing lasts for more than 10 days, take your dog to the veterinarian and ask for his airways or lungs checked.
Treatment for Puppies with Kennel Cough
If your puppy develops kennel cough, take it to the veterinarian. The veterinarian will likely prescribe azithromycin, a relatively new antibiotic that is known to effectively treat kennel cough. You can try the two home remedies below if your puppy has kennel cough. You can also try it on your adult dog.
- Give your dog Pediatric Robitussin four times a day. This home remedy is safe to use for puppies as young as two years old. If the treatment does not work on your puppy, start your puppy on antibiotics.
- Place your puppy in the bathroom and vaporize it with Vicks for about 20 minutes. Do this two times a day for 4 to 5 days. If your puppy's coughs are accompanied by green mucus, take your puppy to the veterinarian.
Kennel Cough Vaccine
You can have your dog vaccinated but keep in mind that kennel cough vaccines are not completely effective. Kennel cough vaccines are typically recommended for dogs that regularly appear in dog shows or are often in a kennel. Some dogs tend to become resistant to kennel cough once they catch and recover from the disease.