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Kennel Cough In Dogs: How Serious Is It And Should I Worry

kennel cough symptoms
The first time a person might hear about Kennel Cough, as I did, was when I had traveled to China and had to leave my three Min Pins in my veterinarian's care. Since he knew their history we figured it shouldn’t be a problem. Then came the question; Have they ever been treated for Kennel Cough?

What Is Kennel Cough?

Since I never heard of it, this seemed like an odd question. Also since he has been their veterinarian for many years why wouldn’t he know? I found out that when dogs and cats come in close contact with other pets such as in a boarding kennel they can contract this disease. Now I was really worried and quite honestly upset.

I take good care of my pet Min Pins and why should I have to worry that someone else’s dog or cat will infect them with a disease I know nothing about? The answer to my problem wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. Since dogs and cats can develop this infectious disease it’s simply a matter of inoculating them against the virus/bacteria before they become exposed to it in close-quarter situations.

kennel cough sound
Many pet lovers are under the wrong impression that Kennel Cough is a contracted disease if they live in a kennel on a daily basis. It is not. What it is, is a mixture of bacterial and viral infections like bronchitis or influenza that is found in humans. It is not only found in cats and dogs but other pets as well such as birds and rabbits.

With these things in mind, the primary concerns are guarding your pet against contracting or coming in contact with pets that have the illness. Kennel cough is highly contagious and also known as Tracheobronchitis. It is an infection of the upper respiratory tract just like we humans get. It will cross transfer to other breeds, so one type of pet is no more immune than another.

Preventative Treatments in Dogs

Prevention is the single best medicine for preventing your pet from contracting the disease. Before I could board my pets they needed a series of vaccines. The number of shots depends on the vaccine manufacturer. Once they get the recommended course of shots they are still not fully protected from contamination.

In most cases, it will take from 72 hours up to two weeks before the animal will receive full protective immunity and will not be allowed to board at a kennel before then. So be aware of this if planning to onboard them in the near future. Your vet will let you know how and when to set this up.

kennel cough vaccine
Once a pet has been inoculated for Kennel cough is not like a measles vaccine where they will only get it once. Vaccines for this purpose will only last between 6 months and a year. Thereafter a booster shot will be recommended to ensure their safety. Again your vet will provide this information.

What should I do?

Ok, so I know how to prevent them from getting it but what if they contract it some other way before they ever got the shots? How do I know they have it and what do I have to do to treat it? These are great questions so let’s go over the background information first.

Unfortunately for the layman, it’s not a simple matter to diagnose the disease. It’s a severe cough for sure. More often than not a pet suffering from this will have a serious hacking cough. It can be so bad as to make you believe they are about to throw up their last meal. If it is persistent then a trip to the veterinarian is most likely warranted.

Certainly, you don’t want the pet to suffer more than it already has. Getting quick treatment is the most important aspect of curing the disease. The second most important aspect is to have the right medications administered to the pet. After diagnosing the disease as Kennel Cough, the treatment requires that there be a double-acting regimen of antibiotics administered to the pet. Remember this is both a viral as well as a bacterial infection.

what does kennel cough sound like
So in recapping what we have covered, Kennel Cough is a very common although very contagious infection. Knowing what to look for and how to prevent it will certainly help you keep your pet healthy. A quick course of action once it is identified will minimize the pain and suffering your pet might be in the midst of enduring.

Responsible pet care starts with knowledge and prevention. Take care of their needs like you would your own. They’ll love you that much more for it.

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