What is kennel cough? Kennel cough is a condition in which your dog develops a respiratory infection from being in areas that are not well ventilated. The disease can often be transmitted to show dogs, because they often have to be boarded. Your dog may be at risk for kennel cough if it has been boarded in a kennel with several other dogs. The disease is much like the flu in humans. Kennel cough is very contagious; but it does not pose a significant threat to cats or humans.
Your pet doesn’t have to be living in a kennel to develop kennel cough. Your pet can develop kennel cough in your own home; for instance, if you smoke, and/or have a large amount of dust in your home and it is not well ventilated, your dog or cat can develop a respiratory infection.
The term, “kennel cough” is a general term for the condition called canine infectious tracheobronchitis. There are other names for this same illness, which are tracheobronchitis, Bordetellosis, and Bordetella. Since the disease is highly contagious, a dog owner should take precautions not to expose their pet to conditions where contracting the disease might be likely. Just like the flu in humans, most cases of kennel cough will resolve within a couple of weeks, but if your dog is young, elderly, or has a poor immune system the illness the dog could die from the disease. The incubation period is about a week before the symptoms occur.
What are the signs and symptoms of kennel cough?
Cough – Your dog may have a violent hacking cough. Your dog could develop pneumonia if the illness is not treated in a timely manner.
Vomiting – Your dog may have violent episodes of retching, which will produce a foamy discharge. Some may call this “foaming at the mouth.”
Rhinitis – Your dog may have a green nasal discharge coming from the nose, inflamed mucous membranes of the nasal mucosa.
Inflammation – Inflammation of the trachea (wind pipe) and bronchial tree is very painful, especially when your dog is having frequent episodes of coughing spells.
Fever – Your dog may develop an elevated temperature. A dog’s normal temperature runs between 100 and 102 degrees. A fever would be higher than 102.
Conjunctivitis – Your dog may have red irritated eyes, also known as pink eye.
Level of consciousness – If your dog has a mild case of kennel cough it may move around like normal, while eating and drinking as usual; however, if your dog has a more severe case of kennel cough your dog may lay around and lose interest in food and water.
If your dog has one or more of the signs and symptoms listed above, you should isolate your dog from any other dogs in your home. Call your veterinarian right away to that your dog can be evaluated and diagnosed.