Exactly what is kennel cough?

If your dog has kennel cough it will probably persistently cough every few minutes, all day long, for days on end. Usually this condition can last anywhere from 7 to 21 days.

Concerning the rest of the dogs health, affected dogs will usually not have a temperature or lose their appetite and will appear to be fine otherwise. In most cases this tends to be pretty mild except for a very harsh cough - kind of like the dog needs to "clear it's throat".

Most commonly it is estimated that 80 to 90% of the cases reported are associated with the bacteria, bordetella bronchiseptica. The majority of the other kennel cough cases are caused by a variety of other viral infectious agents such as Parainfluenza virus or Adenovirus.

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This disease can be transmitted among dogs in much the same way that human "colds" are transmitted among humans. These airborne organisms will be passed from an infected dog, through the air. If an uninfected dog inhales any of these particles they will become infected themselves.

Once there, these organisms will replicate in the new dogs system, causing the dog to get ill which will then be passed on later to other uninfected dogs if left untreated. Infected dogs can spread kennel cough potentially for weeks even after seeming to have fully recovered! This is highly contagious.

Persistent coughing by itself is not lethal however it is a good idea to have your dog examined if it is coughing over a long period of time.

Persistent coughing of this type can also be connected to some very serious diseases such as cardiac disease, Blastomycosis, Valley Fever, or Heartworms.

Cough suppressants can be used to control that aggravating cough, but additional antibiotics may be needed to stop the spread of the bacteria in multiple dog households.

It is a good idea to vaccinate your dog against kennel cough. There are intranasal vaccines as well as injectable versions.

If your dog will not be coming in contact with large groups of other dogs then the decision to vaccinate or not to vaccinate your dog is up to you.

Generally speaking, if you do not plan to board your dog or to go to any dog shows or other congregations of large groups of dogs, you may not need to vaccinate your dog against this. If you do plan to board your dog at any time or to go to any dog related events, it is a good idea to vaccinate your dog against this a few weeks in advance to allow your dogs natural immunities to build up against this disease.

Return from Kennel Cough to Dog Health Tips

"Let's examine the dog mind: Every time you come home, he thinks it's amazing. He can't believe that you've accomplished this again. You walk in the door. The joy of it almost kills him. "He's back again! It's that guy! It's that guy!" - Jerry Seinfeld