If your dog enjoys playing with other dogs or spends time at the dog park, in boarding facilities, in group training classes, or any place that other dogs frequent, then he is at risk of contracting kennel cough. Read on to learn everything you should know about kennel cough, like how it spreads and how to protect your dog.
Kennel cough (also referred to as canine infectious tracheobronchitis or bordetella) is a type of respiratory infection that affects dogs. Kennel cough causes inflammation in an infected dog’s throat and lungs.
A wide range of viruses and bacteria can lead to kennel cough, but most commonly the bordetella bacterium is responsible. This highly contagious disease easily spreads through respiratory droplets in the air, direct contact between dogs, and via contaminated services like shared water and food bowls or toys.
The most common sign of kennel cough is, as you might have suspected, a cough. The cough associated with this disease has particular characteristics. It sounds a little like honking. It might sound as if your dog is trying to hack up something that’s caught in his throat.
In addition, your dog might have the following signs and symptoms:
While kennel cough can be quite serious for puppies and dogs with other health conditions, it’s fairly easy to treat in adult dogs. The coughing and early signs of kennel cough, however, can also indicate more serious diseases such as canine influenza or canine distemper. These should be treated as soon as possible. For this reason, it’s essential to schedule a veterinary appointment and get an accurate diagnosis right away if your dog has a cough.
As prevention is always the best medicine, we strongly encourage dog owners to vaccinate their puppies and dogs against the Bordetella bacterium to prevent the most common causes of kennel cough – especially if the pet will be spending time in public places, around other dogs, or in boarding facilities. However, our Woodland Park veterinarian at Compassion Animal Hospital is fully equipped with in-house diagnostics and a range of treatments and therapies to help our canine patients stay strong while fighting and recovering from kennel cough.