Kennel Cough Symptoms and Treatment


hi this is dr. Karen Becker and today we’re going to discuss kennel cough kennel cough which is also called infectious trachea bronchi tiss or Bordetella is a very common upper respiratory infection in dogs that can be caused by bacteria or viruses kennel cough can be triggered by several different viruses and bacteria but the most common is the presence of both the para influenza virus and the bacteria called Bordetella Branka septic a kennel cough is highly contagious and can remain infective for six to fourteen weeks after symptoms resolve both viral and bacterial causes of kennel cough are spread in the air by sneezing coughing dogs healthy dogs inhale the aerosol eyes respiratory secretions if the functioning of an otherwise healthy dog’s respiratory tract is compromised by stressors like travel or being housed in a crowded environment called temperatures environmental pollutants like dust or cigarette smoke or infectious viruses like the parainfluenza virus REO virus adenovirus or the distemper virus then Bordetella Branka septic ax the chief infectious bacterial agent of kennel cough can enter the respiratory tract Bordetella bacteria are usually accompanied by at least one other infectious agent usually a virus so kennel cough is actually multiple infections and not just a single infection most cases of kennel cough occur in dogs that spend time in crowded quarters with inadequate ventilation and lots of warm air so good examples are potentially boarding kennels grooming shops and animal shelters generally speaking if an otherwise healthy dog suddenly begins coughing it’s usually due to an infection it’s in the form of some type of kennel cough virus or bacteria a sudden dry hacking cough sneezing sudden snorting retching or gagging or vomiting in response to very light pressure to the trachea or a spasmodic COFF when a dog is excited or exercising these are all common symptoms of kennel cough a nasal discharge can be present and sometimes there can also be a fever symptoms typically occur two to 14 days after exposure in mild cases of kennel cough dogs oftentimes most of the time actually continue to eat and they’re alert the condition can be more serious and in some cases you can see pets become lethargic they can have a lack of appetite actually in severe cases pneumonia can develop and in really terrible cases death can occur severe cases primarily occur in immunocompromised patients or in very young puppies it’s rare to lose a dog to kennel cough that is immuno competent and resilient and strong diagnosis is made by observing one or more of the symptoms that I listed previously oftentimes coupled with a history that the dog has spent time either at a boarding facility maybe at a dog park puppy mill coming out of a puppy mill or shelter common histories with pets that present with kennel cough bacterial cultures viral as isolations and bloodwork can be performed to identify the specific pathogens causing the exact type of kennel cough your pet may have sometimes vets will take x-rays which can show bronchitis kennel cough symptoms usually lasts between 10 and 20 days and can actually recur during periods of stress most cases of kennel cough actually resolved without any medical intervention so I don’t automatically recommend that pets receive any type of treatment and certainly antibiotics are not immediately warranted I actually prefer to let a dog’s body heal itself naturally complete recovery from kennel cough can take up to three weeks and healthy dogs and twice as long in older patients or in dogs with underlying immuno suppressive conditions puppies can also take a little bit longer to recover occasionally a serious episode of kennel cough can result in pneumonia if your dog doesn’t start to improve on her on her own within about a week or if the cough becomes progressively worse it’s important you make an appointment with your vet to be on the safe side I also recommend seeing a vet if you have a puppy with symptoms that goes beyond the typical symptoms of kennel cough let’s say if you have a puppy that all of a sudden has a change in breeding in breathing patterns having difficulty breathing if your puppy stops eating or has a markedly diminished energy level all good times to visit your vet in dogs with kennel cough the trachea is oftentimes very very sensitive so a collar can trigger an episode of coughing if you believe your pet could have kennel cough I do not recommend you use any type of collar for harnessing I recommend you use a true harness which takes all the pressure off the eeeh a dog with kennel cough should not be pulled it all around the neck whatsoever because you can see a significant worsening in the bouts of coughing you can also try humidifying the air if you believe your pet has kennel cough oftentimes that can help reduce or alleviate coughing spells safe remedies for active infection include the homeopathic kennel cough nose oats you can also consider using echinacea vitamin C as well as the herbs astragalus and olive leaf i also recommend using slippery elm and raw honey which both help to reduce the incidence of coughing I also recommend that you can consider diffusing therapeutic antiviral essential oils as always you should talk to your holistic veterinarian about what natural remedies are interested in using as well as the doses that are most appropriate for the pets that you’re caring for many veterinarians recommend Bordetella vaccines I don’t and many boarding facilities kennels doggie day cares and groomers and actually some veterinarians require that dogs be vaccinated for kennel cough please understand that the only reason that these institutions demand that your pet be vaccinated is to remove liability from themselves so they’re just bouncing liability away from themselves by demanding that your pet be vaccinated for kennel cough the fact is the bordetella vaccines are for the most part totally useless and they won’t prevent your dog or any dog from acquiring kennel cough as I discussed earlier kennel cough is most often a complex cocktail of different infections not just a single infection and because it’s caused by a variety of different bacterial and viral agents there’s no one single vaccine that can provide protection for all of those different infectious agents both viral and bacterial not only that but whatever protection the vaccine might offer wears off very quickly usually in less than a year which means your pet will need to be revaccinated at least annually if you’re if you patronize pet care businesses that demand vaccines on occasion I am forced to give the bordetella vaccine for clients who must leave their pets at a boarding facility that demands it I always use the intranasal vaccine which is basically a nose drop which is significantly less toxic than the adjuvanted injectable vaccines which I believe should never be used if for some reason you must vaccinate with the injectable Bordetella vaccine I req you can taught your holistic veterinarian about detox options the important thing to remember is that your dog can still get kennel cough even if he or she has been recently vaccinated so I strongly recommend you avoid this unnecessary and pretty much ineffective vaccine if at all possible I do recommend you focus on keeping your pets immune system strong and vibrant which is really the very best defense against chemica you


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