Symptoms of Kennel Cough for Oak Park Dog Owners
If you’re a dog owner in Oak Park, IL, chances are you’ve probably heard of kennel cough before. Kennel cough is a highly contagious dog illness which is often spread in kennels and shelters, hence its colloquial name. However, there’s more to kennel cough than just coughing, and it’s important to brush up on everything you can learn about it for the sake of your dog.
In this article, we’ll explain more about what kennel cough is and what symptoms it might cause. With this information, you can recognize the problem in your dog and take them to the vet immediately if you think they have kennel cough.
What is Kennel Cough?
Kennel cough is the common name for a set of symptoms related to a specific infection in dogs. This infection is scientifically known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis and it can be caused by a variety of different pathogens. Since it has more than one cause, this illness is widespread in dogs.
The pathogens that cause kennel cough are highly contagious between dogs and may be very quickly spread, especially in situations where dogs in Oak Park, IL are kept close together. This is why kennels, shelters, and even dog shows and dog parks are such common places for dogs to contract kennel cough.
Kennel cough can be spread through the air via droplets when dogs sneeze or cough. It can also be spread through contact with other dogs, such as licking. Additionally, it can be spread through surfaces and items like food and water dishes, leashes, toys, crates, bedding, and more. When a dog has kennel cough in Oak Park, they must be kept completely isolated from other dogs until they’re well, or they’ll likely spread it to them.
Most dogs recover well from kennel cough, especially with vet treatment to help them along. However, dogs who are already sick or have immune system problems may become quite ill from it. Very young puppies under six months may also become sick and could possibly die from kennel cough.
Kennel Cough Symptoms to Look Out For in Oak Park, IL
- Strong, painful cough: This may sometimes be the only symptom. Dogs may make a honking sound when they cough with this particular illness.
- Sneezing and runny nose: These symptoms often go along with the cough, but may not always be present.
- Fever: Dogs do not run high fevers with kennel cough but might sustain a low-grade fever.
- Lethargy and loss of appetite: Dogs who are sick with kennel cough may not have much interest in anything, including food, until they get better. They may also behave as if they’re depressed or anxious.
Testing for Kennel Cough in Oak Park, IL
It’s usually quite easy for vets to identify kennel cough in dogs in Oak Park. However, it’s important for a vet to check your dog thoroughly, as they could potentially have other diseases with similar symptoms. Dog flu, for example, mimics the symptoms of kennel cough almost exactly, and distemper also has very similar presentations.
Your vet should rule out all other possible problems before treating your dog for kennel cough, particularly since some other potential issues may require immediate attention.
Dogs may also have similar symptoms to kennel cough if they have asthma or regular bronchitis. A condition known as collapsing trachea may also cause the same type of coughing, and heart disease can sometimes cause the same. Your vet will be able to run tests and identify which of these problems is causing your dog’s cough.
Treatments and Prevention for Kennel Cough
Many dogs—especially those that are still young and healthy—do not need any specific treatment to get over their kennel cough. Your vet will likely recommend your dog simply rest for two weeks and refrain from playing too much or overexerting themselves until they are back to normal again.
Some dogs may need their symptoms managed, however, especially in moderate to severe cases of kennel cough. If your dog is having a lot of trouble breathing, there’s a chance she will be prescribed a nebulizer or a vaporizer, much like a human would be.
This is not very common in dogs in Oak Park, but it’s an option for dogs who are in more severe need of assistance than others. Dogs who are in any type of pain from their kennel cough may be given pain medication to manage this symptom and help them feel better sooner as well.
Keep an Eye Out for Secondary Infections
Some dogs may develop secondary infections while they have kennel cough. Pneumonia is one of the most common instances of this. If your vet feels it’s beneficial to do so, your dog will be prescribed antibiotics to deal with any secondary infections or prevent pneumonia from starting.
Finally, your vet will likely recommend you walk your dog with a harness instead of with a leash and collar to prevent aggravation to the throat and trachea. This will help them heal more quickly and will cut down on their coughing over time. Your dog may need to walk this way long-term, depending on how severe the kennel cough is.
Preventing Kennel Cough in Oak Park
Kennel cough can be prevented for the most part by getting your dog a Bordetella vaccination as early as possible. Kennel cough is almost always caused by the Bordetella bacterium. Your dog will need regular Bordetella booster shots for the rest of their life to keep up with this preventative measure.
Some other types of bacteria and viruses can also cause kennel cough, however. Some of these have vaccinations while others do not. You can vaccinate your dog against most causes of kennel cough, but they will always run the risk of catching it in the right circumstances.
Get Treatment for Kennel Cough as Soon as Possible
It’s important to get immediate vet care when you think your dog has kennel cough in Oak Park, IL. Although kennel cough is very rarely fatal, it may cause more extensive problems if left untreated.
Additionally, it’s very contagious, so your dog will not be able to go on walks, have playdates, or go to the dog park until they’re completely well. Take them to the vet and get them started on treatments right away so they can get back to their usual self as soon as possible.