Disease Detectors: Kennel Cough

Kennel cough, or canine infectious tracheobronchitis, can happen due to many viruses and bacteria. Bordetella is a main bacterial cause of kennel cough, which can also be paired with a virus; so not only does the dog have Bordetella, it may also have another virus, such as canine herpes, canine distemper, or the parainfluenza virus.
While kennel cough can seem bad, what with the terrible hacking coughing and choking it can cause, it usually isn’t serious, and many dogs can get themselves better without treatment.

Causes

Dogs can get kennel cough by being exposed to infected particles of viruses or bacteria that are in the air. Once inhaled, the particles can coat the respiratory tract.
Usually, this tract has a layer of mucus that protects the tract from infection and diseases, but this lining can be weakened by cold temperatures, cigarette smoke, crowded shelter/kennel conditions, and stress because of travel. Once weakened, the mucus cannot combat the particles, and the dog can get sick.

Symptoms

Kennel cough can be categorized by a few symptoms listed here:

*Excessive coughing
*Sneezing/runny nose
*Eye discharge
*Loss of appetite
*Low energy

Prevention/Treatment

Kennel cough is contagious, so if you have more than one dog and suspect one of them has kennel cough, immediately separate the sick dog from the other(s).
Contact your veterinarian if you think your dog has kennel cough, or is having any abnormal symptoms similar to those above, as these can also sometimes indicate other more serious problems.
Dogs can usually fight off kennel cough on their own, but you may want to get medication from your veterinarian.
Use a harness when the sick dog is on a leash to minimize coughing and discomfort.
Avoid leaving your dog in kennels that seem overcrowded, unsanitary, or poorly ventilated.
Dogs with kennel cough will usually bounce back within three weeks, but if not, contact your veterinarian. Prolonged kennel cough can lead to pneumonia.

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