Kennel cough - Symptoms, treatment and contagion

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The canine infectious tracheobronchitis, more commonly known as "kennel cough ", it is a pathology that affects the respiratory system and usually develops in places where a large number of dogs coexist, such as kennels or kennels. This fact was the one that gave rise to the popular name of the affection.

Formerly, this disease occurred only in those kennels or kennels with inadequate hygienic conditions. However, with the increase in animal shelters, abandoned pet shelters, dog walkers, dog shows and, in general, places where a large number of dogs are concentrated, the pathology has spread more rapidly due to to its high contagion rate, and not so much due to inappropriate conditions. If you suspect that your dog has been infected, keep reading this AnimalWised article and discover the symptoms and treatment of kennel cough.

You may also be interested in: Cough in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Index
  1. What is canine infectious tracheobronychitis?
  2. How is kennel cough spread?
  3. Symptoms of kennel cough
  4. My dog ​​has a dry cough and gagging, is it kennel cough??
  5. Diagnosis of kennel cough
  6. Kennel cough treatment
  7. Kennel cough in puppies
  8. How Long Does Kennel Cough Last?
  9. How to prevent kennel cough?
  10. Is the kennel cough vaccine effective??
  11. Is kennel cough spread to humans??

What is canine infectious tracheobronychitis?

Kennel cough is a viral pathology, highly contagious, which is usually produced by the parainfluenza virus (PIC) or by canine adenovirus type 2, agents that weaken the respiratory tract and, as a consequence, facilitate the entry of opportunistic bacteria such as Bordetella bronchiseptica (Bb), producing a bacterial infection and worsening the clinical condition of the animal. However, there have also been cases in which the disease has developed due to the sole presence of the bacteria. Likewise, these are not the only causes of kennel cough, since there have also been cases of herpesvirus and even the virus that causes canine distemper.

In this way, we see how this pathology directly affects the respiratory system, producing in him an infection that can be more or less serious, depending on the agents that act, the external conditions and the time that the dog has been infected. To get a better idea of ​​the type of disease we face, we could say that kennel cough is very similar to the flu that humans contract.

It is an increasingly common condition in dogs, it is not serious and can be eradicated with simple medical treatment.

How is kennel cough spread?

As we discussed at the beginning, the most common is that kennel cough develops in places where a significant number of dogs live. In these cases, controlling the disease is much more difficult than when it comes to a particular and isolated case.

As with the flu, this pathology is spread orally and nasal. Once the animal has been infected, the viral agents can be transmitted to another dog during the first two weeks, for the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica, transmission can last up to three months. In this way, when a sick patient expels pathogens through respiratory secretions, another healthy one who is close to him can acquire them and begin to develop the disease..

Puppies less than 6 months old are much more susceptible to this disease. Especially if we adopt a dog that has been exposed to significant stress situations, such as being locked in a cage, we must take special care and observe carefully if it presents any of the symptoms that we detail below..

In kennels, kennels, animal shelters, shelters with several dogs, etc., it is practically impossible to prevent the disease from spreading rapidly. Therefore, prevention is always the best solution. In the section dedicated to this point we will explain in detail how to prevent kennel cough.

On the other hand, there are no breeds more prone than others to contract kennel cough, however, there is a higher rate of infection among puppies, elderly dogs, pregnant dogs or immunosuppressed dogs.

Symptoms of kennel cough

¿How to tell if your dog has kennel cough? Once infected, the dog will begin to experience a series of clearly identifiable symptoms. The most characteristic manifestation of this pathology is the appearance of a dry, hoarse, strong and constant cough, caused by inflammation of the vocal cords.

In more advanced cases, the cough may be accompanied by a slight expectoration of secretions deposited in the respiratory system by pathogenic germs. This expulsion is often mistaken for a mild vomiting or foreign body. If possible, it is advisable to reserve a sample and take it to the vet so that it can be examined. In this way, in addition to analyzing the physical appearance of your dog, you can study the secretion expelled and offer a better diagnosis. You should know that these moderate vomiting are not caused by stomach problems, remember that this disease only affects the respiratory system. They develop from the same inflammation and irritation of the throat produced by a dry cough.

The decay, general malaise, lack of appetite and energy are other symptoms of the most common dog cough. If you notice that your dog presents any of these signs, do not hesitate and go to the vet quickly. Although it is not a serious disease, it does require veterinary treatment to cure it and prevent it from getting worse.

And if secondary infections appear, it is possible that the dog has fever, weakness, eye and / or nasal discharge, shortness of breath, etc..

In provident dogs in kennels, kennels, or pet stores, exposed to stressful conditions, canine infectious tracheobronychitis may lead to pneumonia.

My dog ​​has a dry cough and gagging, is it kennel cough??

Dry cough and gagging or mild vomiting are the main symptoms of kennel cough, so it is common to think of this respiratory pathology when seeing these signs in the dog. Likewise, it is easy to confuse a cough with gagging, so, to clear up any doubts, it is best to visit the veterinarian to perform the relevant tests and determine if it is a case of canine infectious tracheobronchitis or not..

On the other hand, these signs not only appear in a picture of kennel cough, but are common to multiple problems related to the respiratory system. For example, they happen due to pharyngitis, bronchitis and even distemper.

Diagnosis of kennel cough

¿How to detect kennel cough? To diagnose this disease, the veterinarian will be based mainly on the symptoms, physical examination and the history of the patient. That is, if it is a puppy from a kennel or kennel with a large number of dogs, the most likely thing is that you suspect this pathology. Likewise, to guarantee the diagnosis, the specialist will request tests as a blood test, study of secretions collected by caregivers or x-ray.

Kennel cough treatment

In particular cases, the first thing to do is isolate the sick dog inside the home, in a room just for him for at least seven days, or the duration of the treatment. This step is essential to prevent the disease from spreading and infecting neighboring dogs.

Once isolated, the simplest way to control and eradicate kennel cough is to using antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. Depending on the condition of the dog and the progression of the disease, the veterinarian will choose to prescribe one type of medicine or another. Since several viral agents may participate in the development of this pathology, it is practically impossible to determine a standard medical treatment suitable for all cases. The most advisable thing is to go to your usual veterinary clinic so that a specialist can determine the best treatment to cure kennel cough..

In dogs that show decay and lack of appetite, we must make sure that they ingest the minimum amount of water stipulated by the veterinarian to prevent dehydration, dilute secretions deposited in the respiratory tract and promote ventilation.

Kennel cough in puppies

The puppies they are the most susceptible and prone to catching kennel cough. For this reason, when adopting one, it is necessary to go to the veterinarian for a complete examination to confirm that the animal is in perfect condition. In addition, it will take the opportunity to start the vaccination and deworming calendar.

Although kennel cough in puppies has a cure, if left untreated the animal could worsen to the point of death due to the intrusion of opportunistic bacteria and the development of secondary infections.

How Long Does Kennel Cough Last?

There is no set period of time, since the recovery of the patient depends entirely on the pathogen agent and the complications that may have arisen, such as the development of secondary infections, etc. If, for example, kennel cough has been caused by the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica, or it has worsened the clinical picture, the animal may take weeks and even months to recover, since this bacterium can remain in the respiratory system up to 3 months or more, especially if it is not fought.

Once treatment is started, if appropriate, curing kennel cough can lead to from one week to two. Of course, if you do not notice an improvement in the affected animal or observe serious side effects, it is necessary to go to the vet immediately.

How to prevent kennel cough?

Without a doubt, the best way to treat any contagious disease is through prevention. In kennels, kennels, pet stores, etc., it is essential to have a proper hygiene and optimal general conditions to preserve the health of the dogs. When this fails, pathogens are more likely to develop and begin to spread disease.

On the other hand, there is a kennel cough vaccine, designed to protect the dog from this specific pathology, the Bb + PIC. However, the kennel cough vaccine is not available in all countries and, therefore, we cannot always use this preventive method. In this sense, it is essential to keep the mandatory vaccination schedule for dogs up to date, because although they do not prevent the appearance of kennel cough, it does help reduce symptoms and facilitate their cure.

Is the kennel cough vaccine effective??

Although the kennel cough vaccine is one of the main prevention measures, the truth is that does not guarantee that the animal will not contract it. Thus, a vaccinated dog can get canine infectious tracheobronchitis. However, it should be noted that, in general, the vaccine allows the disease to run much milder than in an unvaccinated dog, so it is much more likely to recover soon or suffer less severe symptoms. Therefore, especially in those dogs that live in communities, it is recommended to vaccinate.

Is kennel cough spread to humans??

Due to the speed with which this pathology spreads, it is not surprising that many wonder if kennel cough is also contagious to humans. Well, since Bordetella bronchiseptica is related to Bordetella pertussis, the bacterium responsible for whooping cough in children, there are cases of both children and adults affected by this pathogen and, therefore, canine infectious tracheobronychitis is considered a zoonosis. However, the rare cases in which this happens have occurred in people with a very weakened immune system (immunosuppressants), such as HIV patients, patients who follow glucocorticoid-based therapy for a long period of time, etc. . In this way, we highlight, kennel cough rarely affects humans.

This article is merely informative, at we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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