If you’re a dog owner, you’ve likely heard of kennel cough at some point. It’s a common and highly contagious respiratory disease among dogs. In this post, we’ll dive into what kennel cough is, its symptoms, how it spreads, and what you can do to help your furry friend if they happen to catch it.
What is Kennel Cough?
Kennel cough, also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It’s comparable to a human cold and can be caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria, including the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria, canine parainfluenza virus, and canine adenovirus type 2. These agents can infect the respiratory tract, leading to inflammation and irritation.
Symptoms of Kennel Cough
The most common symptom of kennel cough is a persistent, forceful cough that often sounds like something is stuck in your dog’s throat. This cough can be particularly noticeable after exercise or excitement. Other symptoms may include sneezing, a runny nose, and, in some cases, a mild fever. While these symptoms can be distressing for both you and your dog, most cases of kennel cough are not serious and will resolve on their own within one to two weeks.
How Kennel Cough Spreads
Kennel cough is highly contagious and typically spreads through the air. When an infected dog coughs or sneezes, it releases aerosolized droplets containing the infectious agents into the environment. These droplets can then be inhaled by other dogs, leading to the spread of the disease. Kennel cough can also spread through direct contact with contaminated surfaces such as water bowls, toys, or other items that an infected dog has come into contact with.
Treatment and Prevention
While kennel cough can be distressing for your dog, the good news is that, in most cases, it will resolve on its own without requiring medical intervention. However, to make your dog more comfortable, you can provide a warm and humid environment, similar to how a steamy bathroom can help ease a human’s cough. Additionally, ensure your dog stays well-hydrated and gets plenty of rest.
Prevention is key when it comes to kennel cough. Ensuring your dog is up to date on vaccinations, particularly the Bordetella vaccine, can help reduce the risk of infection. If your dog is going to be in an environment where they may be exposed to the disease, such as a boarding kennel or dog park, it’s essential to take precautions. Additionally, practicing good hygiene, such as regular handwashing and disinfecting surfaces, can help prevent the spread of kennel cough.
Kennel cough is a common and highly contagious respiratory disease among dogs, but in most cases, it’s not serious and will resolve on its own. By understanding the symptoms, how it spreads, and what you can do to help your dog if they catch it, you can be better prepared to handle this common canine ailment. Keep in mind that while it can be distressing to see your furry friend under the weather, with proper care and attention, they’ll be back to their playful selves in no time.