Medical Conditions: Kennel Cough
Has your dog been having a strong, persistent cough of late? Most likely, he has Kennel Cough particularly if he is not vaccinated.
What Is Kennel Cough?
Unquestionably, also known as Dog Cough or canine tracheobronchitis, Kennel Cough is a contagious respiratory ailment that spreads among dogs living in congested environments. Obviously, some of the areas where the disease is prevalent include dog parks, dog shows, shelters, and other dog facilities.
The disease spreads from one dog to the other through direct contact, airborne droplets, and contaminated surfaces. Although Kennel Cough affects canines of all sizes and ages, puppies are nonetheless high vulnerable to this respiratory disease.
What are the Major Causes of Kennel Cough?
Kennel Cough starts when a dog’s respiratory system is affected. This is normally as a result of various health issues. Morever, the issues can be categorized into four categories. To start with, inflammatory conditions, auto-immune issues, degenerative and geriatric conditions, and infectious agents. Below is a comprehensive look at some of the causes that are attributed to Kennel Cough. Nevertheless, the cough can sound terrible in dogs.
Inflammatory and Auto-immune Causes
The major causes of Kennel Cough in this category are asthma and allergies. Just like humans, dogs too can exhibit allergic reactions to multiple instigators such as vaccines, certain foods, environmental allergens, medications, and fleas.
As a leading cause of Kennel Cough, asthma affects dogs of all ages. However, younger canines are more susceptible to respiratory disease as a result of asthma. If your canine has Kennel cough due to asthma, he will exhibit signs such as difficulty while inhaling. Additionally, suffer from asthma attack which is usually followed by an anticipated coughing outbreak.
Infectious Causes of Kennel Cough
Infections attributed to Kennel Cough can stem from various agents including fungus, viruses, bacteria, and parasites. In most instances, this disease can be a sign of severe health issues like heartworm disease, Canine Distemper Virus, Valley Fever, and pneumonia among others.
Degenerative and Geriatric Causes of Kennel Cough
There are many age-related conditions that are attributed to Kennel Cough. The most common conditions include specific types of cancers, congestive heart failure, and laryngeal paralysis. As well as that, they are many dogs suffering from Kennel Cough due to issues such as congestive heart failure are usually middle-aged dogs.
Following this, when dogs suffer from Kennel cough due to laryngeal paralysis, they usually experience difficulties while breathing. Lung cancer is yet another age-related condition that causes Kennel Cough. Second-hand smoke is the main predisposing factor in this case.
Other Causes of Dog Cough
Apart from the major causes of Dog Cough mentioned above, there are still many causes of this contagious respiratory ailment that include-
- Prolonged exposure to dust
- Travel-related stress
- Cold weather
- Exposure to poorly ventilated or crowded conditions.
What are the Common Signs that my Dog could be having Kennel Cough?
The symptoms of this ailment might vary from one canine to the other. Particularly, the most apparent symptom is a forceful, persistent cough. The cough usually sounds as if the dog has an object stuck in their throat. Subsequently, the cough can sometimes be hoarse or dry. Again, the cough is followed by mucus. It is way distinct from the usual cough since it produces weird sneezing. Below are other symptoms of Kennel Cough.
- Running nose
- Loss of appetite
- Nasal and eye discharge
- Vomiting or gagging after ingesting food
How can I Diagnose the Cause of Kennel Cough in my Dog?
Before thinking of treating your dog from Dog Cough, first, figure out the specific underlying cause of this cough. This entails diagnosing, which can only be done by a vet. Upon visiting the pet to have your dog diagnosed, they will first ask questions about the dog’s health history, preventive care, and travel. It should be noted, the vet will ask about the start of the disease and the progression of the symptoms.
Diagnosing will also entail conducting a physical exam. Even so, for diagnostic testing, a further diagnosis must be done other than the initial physical examination. Depending on the dog’s health situation at the time of the diagnosis, the vet may choose to conduct a couple of tests. These tests include-
- Blood chemistry
- Blood cell count
- Serology( this is performed to detect all the possible infectious ailments the dog could be suffering from)
- Fecal examination
- Chest x-rays
- Blood pressure analysis
- An evaluation of the fluid samples collected from the dog’s airways
When is Dog Cough Serious?
Ideally, Kennel Cough should disappear on its own. Despite this, the ailment can become serious when it gets severe, or when the symptoms worsen. Conversely, the ailment is considered serious if it doesn’t improve within weeks after initial symptoms have been detected. In case you think the cough in your dog is serious, don’t hesitate to have them to be checked by a vet.
Treatments for Kennel Cough
Not only, is Dog Cough regarded as, among the highly contagious diseases that affect dogs, but also the disease can disappear on its own even without treatment? Previously, in most cases, dogs that have been diagnosed with this disease have been reported to heal within three weeks even when treatment wasn’t administered.
In spite of this, the disease has been reported to persist in some dogs. Worse still, Dog Cough can become severe within weeks after infection. Indeed can pose a serious health threat among canines irrespective of their breed and age. The best treatment for Dog Cough is always administered by a certified vet, whereby the vet will analyze the symptoms and recommend either medications or injections.
Luckily, you don’t have to always take your pet to a vet whenever you suspect they have Kennel Cough. You can try some effective home remedies to treat the disease alongside vaccination. Some of the home remedies for Dog Cough Include-
Garlic is an effective remedy for dogs suffering from Dog Cough. It also has additional health benefits, including fighting excessive bloating. Take some garlic cloves and peel them in a bowl. Mix the garlic with natural oil and then infuse the combination for at least 24 hours. You can then add some drops to every meal you will be feeding your dog with.
Organic Coconut Oil
Organic coconut oil has great immune-enhancing properties. Furthermore, it has fatty acids that boast anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Adding a teaspoon or two of coconut oil to your dog’s meal can help treat Dog Cough. Depending on the size, age, and breed of your dog, you can decide the amount of coconut oil to add to their meal.
As a home remedy for Kennel Cough, raw honey is excellent for soothing the throat of the infected dog. Raw honey boasts anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial. just add one or two tablespoons of raw honey to the dog’s meal.
Just like coconut oil, cinnamon oil boasts antiviral properties. It offers relief for the persistent dog cough especially within the first days of contracting the disease. I recommend you sprinkle some cinnamon over the dog’s meal for a few days and you will observe a great improvement.
What Should I Do to Prevent my Dog from Contracting Kennel Cough?
While Dog Cough is curable, there are some sure ways to prevent your dog from contracting it particularly if there are vulnerable to the disease. The tips below will ensure your dog is safe from Kennel Cough.
Above all, isolation is linked with depression among dogs, it is nonetheless an excellent preventive measure for Dog Cough. If your canine has been lately exposed to an infected canine, it is prudent to isolate them for at least a fortnight. This helps stop the disease from spreading to other healthy dogs.
Disinfection is an effective precaution measure you can take to ensure your dog doesn’t become infected with Dog Cough. If the dog has been to places where they might have come into contact with other dogs like shelters consider disinfecting them with disinfectants like Bleach among others. Disinfect everything from their kennel, crates to mats. Also, you can have an alternative to boarding kennels when going away for vacation without your dog.
Vaccination is recommended especially when there is an impending Dog Cough outbreak. It helps ensure dogs are safe from the disease even when they are highly vulnerable to it. Again, it helps with boosting the dog’s immune, such that their body can successfully combat the disease. In addition, vaccination helps lessen the various symptoms linked with Kennel Cough. For vaccination to be effective, take your dog to the vet at least after every three months to have them vaccinated.
Probiotics have long been recommended as effective home remedies for Dog Cough, thanks to their immune-boosting benefits. In particular, probiotics are perfect for the dogs’ digestive and oral health. Probiotics are by far the best treatment for the disease particularly when it has progressed to full-blown pneumonia. Ask the vet to recommend a suitable probiotic supplement for your dog is their cough has progressed to a life-threatening condition.
Dog Cough is among the life-threatening conditions that affect millions of canines yearly. What starts as a usual cough can progress to a serious and highly contagious condition over time. As such, put preventive measures to keep your dog safe from Kennel Cough. Finally, have them treated promptly before they endanger the lives of other canines.