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If your dog begins coughing uncontrollably, this could be a sign of kennel cough, scientifically known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis. Kennel cough may frighten a pet parent; however, this is often not a serious condition and many dogs recover completely on their own.
The cause of kennel cough is often a bacterium known as Bordatella bronchisepticam. This is why you often hear of kennel cough being referred to as Bordatella. Just as we “catch” a cold, dogs “catch” kennel cough when they inhale bacteria into their respiratory tract. Kennel cough is referred to as ‘kennel cough’ because dogs in kennels often contract this disease due to exposure to overcrowded spaces or poor ventilation as found in kennels or shelters. Other factors which increase the risk of contracting kennel cough include exposure to cold temperatures, exposure to dust or cigarette smoke and travel-induced stress.
Signs of Kennel Cough
Kennel cough is extremely contagious. If you feel your dog may have kennel cough, you should contact your veterinarian to see if he or she feels treatment is necessary. You must also keep your pet away from any other animals to reduce the risk of other animals contracting the condition. Keeping your dog in an area with a humidifier is often recommended to minimize the coughing.
Most dogs with kennel cough will often recover completely on their own within several weeks. Dogs with lowered immune systems such as those who have another illness or senior dogs may take up to six weeks to fully recover. Kennel cough may also lead to pneumonia so it is crucial to monitor him as he is recovering.
There is a vaccination available to assist in the prevention of kennel cough. They are available topically, via injection or as a nasal mist. These vaccines absolutely help; however, they are not guarantee. The vaccinations are also not to be used as treatment for the condition as once your dog has this condition, it must be treated accordingly.
Amber L. Drake, a Professional Canine Behaviorist and Adjunct Professor of Biological Science, has extensive experience in the Animal Science Field. She has worked with dogs professionally for over ten years. Her clients range from private pet parents to large canine rescue organizations. In addition to accepting clients on a regular basis, Drake serves as an Adjunct Professor at Jamestown Community College and Kaplan University. Drake has earned a Doctor of Education (ABD), Educational Specialist Post-Masters, Master of Arts in Education and a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She has completed coursework at Cornell University for Pre-Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, Biochemistry at UC Berkeley, Veterinary Technology at Penn Foster and a number of Continuing Education courses to remain up-to-date in her field.