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Six Things to Know About Kennel Cough and Your Pet

September 1, 2021

Six Things to Know About Kennel Cough and Your Pet - Black lab puppy coughing

Kennel cough is considered to be a common and contagious canine ailment. Owners have described it as sounding as if something is stuck in their dog’s throat. Kennel cough can be compared to a chest cold in humans—and there are times you may need to seek veterinary treatment.

Here are six things to know about kennel cough:

  1. Kennel cough (infectious tracheobronchitis) is a contagious respiratory tract infection caused by the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica. Concurrent viral and/or bacterial infections may be present as well.
  2. After your dog is exposed, he/she may develop infection of the nasal passages and respiratory tract, typically leading to the development of a deep, hoarse cough. Oftentimes, there may be a productive retch (white foamy fluid) associated with the end of the coughing episode.
  3. Kennel cough is usually mild. Your dog may continue with normal activities; the disease will generally run its course and improve within a few weeks.
  4. More severe cases could last longer and should be treated by your family veterinarian. Look for fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite as additional symptoms that indicate a more severe case.
  5. Some dogs may require treatment with antimicrobials and cough suppressants. A small proportion of dogs may develop bacterial pneumonia and require more extensive hospitalization and treatment.
  6. Vaccination is very effective to either prevent the disease or lessen the severity of the clinical signs. The immunity to vaccination is short-lived therefore booster immunization is required to maintain a protective benefit.

If you are concerned that your pet is coughing extensively or has been ill for some time, you should consult your family veterinarian right away. If your veterinarian is unavailable, head to your nearest MedVet location.

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For ways to ensure your pet lives a happier, healthier life, visit our Pet Care Resources library.

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