The season is changing and it’s that time of year again: we have had reports of some coughing dogs. Yikes! As many of you know, kennel cough is contagious to other dogs. While we pride ourselves on our clean facility with a state-of-the-art air filtration system, we cannot guarantee that your dog has not been exposed to a virus that is airborne in nature. The kennel cough vaccine that we require covers the most common strains, however, much like the human flu vaccine, there are other less common strains that can infect dogs.
What to look out for? Dogs with kennel cough are usually bright and alert and eat well, however, they have a dry hacking cough or bouts of deep harsh coughing often followed by gagging motions, and sometimes the gag can produce a foamy mucus. Most dogs with kennel cough do not have a fever. Symptoms usually develop 3 to 10 days after exposure to an infected animal, but because there’s no specific test for kennel cough, it’s a diagnosis of exclusion.
Treatment depends on the severity of symptoms. In mild cases, no medications are given, since the disease is self-limiting and will run its course much like the human cold. Humidifiers and using a harness instead of a collar to avoid irritating the neck can help. A little honey usually makes a pup happy and can help too! More serious cases are treated with oral antibiotics and often cough suppressants, and most resolve within 7 to 14 days.
If your dog shows any symptoms of kennel cough, don’t panic. Reach out to us so we can provide treatment at no charge through Dr. Fleming. Of course, if your dog is exhibiting any signs, we ask that you please keep them home from daycare.