The canine infectious tracheobronchitis , more commonly known as “kennel cough”, is a condition that affects the respiratory system and usually develops in places where a wide number of dogs, such as kennels or breeding. 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 protection, 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 its high contagion rate, and not so much due to inappropriate conditions. If you suspect that your dog has been infected, keep reading this article and discover the symptoms and treatment of kennel cough .
What is canine infectious tracheobronchitis?
Kennel cough is a highly contagious viral disease that is usually caused by the parainfluenza virus (PIC). Or canine adenovirus type 2, agents that weaken the respiratory tract and, as a consequence. Facilitate entry of opportunistic bacteria such as Bordetella bronchiseptica (Bb), producing a bacterial infection and worsening the clinical status 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 it 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 is a particular and isolated case.
This pathology is spread by the oral and nasal route . Once the animal has been infected, the viral agents can be transmitted to another dog during the first two weeks. For the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacterium the transmission can last up to three months. In this way, when a sick patient expels pathogens through respiratory secretions, another healthy one near 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 carefully observe 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 contagion among puppies, elderly dogs, pregnant dogs or immunosuppressed dogs.
Symptoms of kennel cough
How do you know 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.
The cough may be accompanied by a slight expectoration of the secretions deposited in the respiratory system by pathogenic germs. This expulsion is often mistaken for mild vomiting or a foreign body. 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 vomitings 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, malaise, lack of appetite, and energy are other symptoms of cough most common in dogs. If you notice that your dog has 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, the dog may have a fever , weakness, eye and / or nasal discharge, difficulty breathing, etc.
In provident dogs in kennels, kennels, or pet stores, exposed to stressful conditions, canine infectious tracheobronchial may lead to pneumonia.
My dog has a dry cough and gagging, is it kennel cough?
Dry cough and retching 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 retching, 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 Dogs cough
How to detect kennel cough ? To diagnose this disease, the veterinarian will rely primarily on the symptoms, physical examination, and history of the patient. That is, if it is a puppy originating from a kennel or kennel with a large number of dogs, it is most likely that you suspect this pathology. Likewise, to guarantee the diagnosis, the specialist will request tests such as a blood test. Study of secretions collected by caregivers or X-rays.
Dogs cough treatment
In particular cases, the first thing we must 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 with 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 ensure that they ingest the minimum amount of water stipulated by the veterinarian. To prevent dehydration, dilute the secretions deposited in the respiratory tract and promote ventilation.
Kennel cough in puppies
Puppies are the most susceptible and prone to catching kennel cough. Therefore, 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, you will take the opportunity to start the vaccination and deworming schedule.
Puppy kennel cough is curable, 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 dog Cough Last?
There is no established period of time , since the patient’s recovery 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, curing kennel cough can take from a 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 adequate 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.
There is a vaccine for kennel cough, designed to protect the dog from this specific pathology, 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 cough vaccine effective?
Although the kennel cough vaccine is one of the main prevention measures, the truth is that it 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, in those dogs that live in communities, is recommended to vaccinate.
Is dog cough spread to humans?
Due to the rapidity 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 is responsible for whooping cough in children. There are cases of both children and adults affected by this pathogen and, therefore. Canine infectious tracheobronchitis 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 AnimalWised.com 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.
If you want to read more articles similar to Kennel cough – Symptoms, treatment and contagion , we recommend that you visit our Respiratory diseases section .
- Mauro, L. (2006). Management of canine infectious tracheobronchitis (TIC) “Kennel Cough” . REDVET Veterinary Electronic Journal. ISSN 1695-704, Vol. VII, No. 2.
- Constitution Veterinary Hospital. (2010-2011). Kennel cough . Nº4. Available at: http://www.valenciahospitalveterinario.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/clip_constitucion_pdf-4.pdf
- Ziegler, J. (2017). The black book of vets . Barcelona: Macro.
- Sierra de Madrid Veterinary Hospital. Dog flu – tracheobronchitis (kennel cough). Available at: http://www.hvsmveterinario.com/noticias/1310%20La%20gripe%20del%20perro.pdf
- Ríos, A. Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis . University of the Americas. Available at: http://www.veterinaria-agronomia-udla.cl/portales/tp290d66e66p22/uploadImg/File/Alvaro%20Ri%CC%81os.pdf