Fighting Back Against Kennel Cough

Many dogs are naturally social animals. They love being around people and even other dogs. Your dog may love going to the dog park or get very excited about a trip to doggie daycare. But just as you vaccinate your children against certain communicable diseases, it is important to protect your dog as well – they can also become sick!

A very common disease found in dogs that spend time in close quarters with other dogs is kennel cough; you may also know this as Bordetella because it often comes from the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria. This bacterium may also be combined with other microorganisms or viruses. Kennel cough is highly contagious and can be especially dangerous to puppies, older dogs, and those with underlying medical conditions.

Kennel Cough Symptoms

Kennel cough is a respiratory disease, so dogs present with a hacking cough that may sound like a goose honking. It is a persistent cough that may seem to linger and should not be confused with a reverse sneeze. Like a cold in humans, dogs may also have a runny nose or eyes and sneezing as well. Your dog may still seem like its normal self if it has a mild case of Bordetella, but with more severe cases, you may notice he or she is less active and has decreased energy.

There is no definitive test to diagnose kennel cough, but veterinarians will conduct a thorough examination and rule out other causes of respiratory distress. They may do a blood test, urinalysis, or chest x-rays to gain a better understanding of your dog’s condition.

Treating Kennel Cough

In otherwise healthy dogs, Bordetella may resolve on its own with some conservative care such as plenty of rest, fluids, and a healthy diet. In more severe cases, they may be prescribed medication to help with cough, inflammation of the airway, and any bacterial infections that may be present. It is important to note that kennel cough can develop into pneumonia and become potentially fatal, so it is essential to have your dog checked out by a veterinarian if you believe they may have kennel cough.

Protecting Against Kennel Cough

If you board your dog or take them to doggie daycare, one of the requirements is often that they have been vaccinated against Bordetella. While this does not guarantee that they will not catch it, it can greatly reduce their risk and decrease severity of the disease if they do get it.

Try to keep your dog away from others who may have the disease, especially if they have not been vaccinated or have a compromised immune system. Talk to the boarding facility and ensure that they stay on top of vaccinations and overall health of the dogs that they care for.

Also, pay attention to your dog’s behavior and health. Take note if they begin to develop a cough or have a runny nose. It is better to be proactive and have it checked out sooner rather than later. If your dog does develop kennel cough, keep them away from other dogs until they have recovered because it is highly contagious.

Lake Wylie Pet Resort takes dog health very seriously and requires all dogs to be vaccinated for kennel cough, DPP, and rabies. Vaccination for canine influenza is also strongly recommended though not required. Take steps to protect your dog so that they can enjoy socializing with others at doggie daycare or be boarded while you are away and stay healthy. Contact Lake Wylie Pet Resort today to learn more about doggie daycare, boarding and grooming services, and required vaccinations.

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