What is Kennel Cough & Why Does it Matter?

What is Kennel Cough & Why Does it Matter?

You may have heard the term “kennel cough” floating around while talking about pet shelters or doggy daycare, but what is it? Kennel cough is a highly-contagious infection that affects a dog’s respiratory system causing them symptoms similar to a cold.

The best way to prevent kennel cough is through the Bordetella vaccine. If your dog already has kennel cough, their immune system should treat it in about two weeks. Read more to learn other ways to avoid and treat kennel cough.

Find your local PetWellClinic to learn about which vaccines are included in our dog and puppy wellness packages!

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough, or canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious respiratory disease that is marked by a hacking cough. There are various viruses and bacteria that can cause kennel cough such as parainfluenza virus, herpesvirus, adenovirus, mycoplasma, and  bordetella bronchiseptica. 

Common symptoms of kennel cough include:

  • A loud cough, often described as a “honking” sound
  • Runny eyes and nose
  • Sneezing
  • Low fever
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of appetite

How Do Dogs Get Kennel Cough?

The primary way kennel cough is transmitted is through contact with infected dogs, contaminated objects, or the air. Dogs housed in kennels, doggy daycare, or shelters, are more susceptible due to the dog-to-dog contact, which is why canine infectious tracheobronchitis was nicknamed “kennel cough.” There are also a culmination of factors that make dogs more susceptible to infections, such as kennel cough.

PetWellClinic offers convenient Dog Wellness Packages to take care of your furry friend!

Factors that make dogs more vulnerable to kennel cough include:

  • Stress (this can be due to changes in environment or loud noises)
  • Cold temperatures
  • Dust or smoke exposure
  • Poor ventilation

Knowing the symptoms of these illnesses, their causes, and how to treat and prevent them are the best way to keep your dog healthy.

Wondering why you should care about kennel cough even if you don’t board your dogs? Read our blog to find out.

How Long Does Kennel Cough Last?

Kennel cough’s duration varies depending on the virus and bacteria, but the infection typically resolves in about 10 days, although more severe cases can last up to three weeks. Mild symptoms may last longer. In these cases, anti-inflammatory medications and cough suppressants can help mitigate the lingering effects.

What Does Kennel Cough Sound Like?

Kennel cough’s most distinctive symptom is a bad cough that sounds like a goose honking. The culprit of this sound is often a tracheal collapse. 

Treatments for a tracheal collapse include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Cough suppressants

How to Treat Kennel Cough

A variety of products are available to treat kennel cough. In most cases, a dog’s immune system will resolve the issue in under two weeks. If there is a more severe infection, veterinarians may recommend antibiotics, nebulizers, or cough medicine. The best treatment, however, is always prevention. The Bordetella vaccine is given to puppies and dogs to prevent kennel cough.

Can Humans Get Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough is contagious to humans, so it is possible to catch the disease from a dog, but in most cases it is unlikely. People with an underlying medical condition are at a higher risk of catching kennel cough, but even in these cases symptoms are rare. Antibiotics and cough suppressants are used to treat kennel cough in humans.

Symptoms of kennel cough in humans include:

  • Sore throat
  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain while swallowing
  • Fever

Can Cats Get Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough is less common in cats than dogs, but it is possible. Kennel cough is transmitted and treated the same in cats as it is in dogs. Cats with a bad cough should be taken to the vet to stop the disease from progressing to pneumonia, which can be fatal. Even if it may not be kennel cough, a persistent cough in cats always warrants a vet visit.

Bring your cat by PetWellClinic if they have a persistent cough!

How Long is Kennel Cough Contagious?

It typically takes two weeks for the virus to leave a dog’s system to where they are no longer contagious. For this reason, if your dog is showing symptoms of a kennel cough, keep them away from other pets for two weeks in order to keep all their furry friends safe.  

As a pet-parent, it’s important to know what to look out for when you notice your dog sniffling. Preventative care, such as the Bordetella vaccine and check-ups will help maintain their health. If your dog is showing some cold symptoms, take them to your local PetWellClinic, and our veterinarian will be able to get them the help they need. 

Prevention is the best way to ensure your dog never has to endure kennel cough! PetWellClinic offers a variety of packages, including puppy packages and dog wellness packages. These packages include the Bordetella vaccine, which prevents kennel cough. Bring your pup to PetWellClinic to prevent illnesses like kennel cough or treat them when they happen!

PetWellClinic is dedicated to being here for pet owners. Our hours of operation extend into the evenings and weekends, and our clinic environment is built with your pet’s comfort in mind. Ask your PetWellClinic veterinarian for guidance if you notice any cold symptoms in your dog that could point to kennel cough that could lead to a bigger issue in their health like pneumonia. 

PetWellClinic provides convenient, affordable veterinary care for pet owners. PetWellClinic has locations and services built with convenience in mind. Stop by with your pet any time! No appointment necessary.

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