If you’re a pet parent, you’ve probably heard of kennel cough, a common respiratory infection in dogs. Like a cold in humans, it’s not something to take lightly, especially since our furry friends can’t tell us when they’re feeling under the weather. At Advanced Pet Care of Clear Lake, we’re here to guide you through what kennel cough is, its symptoms, and the importance of professional treatment for your beloved companion.
What Is Kennel Cough?
Kennel cough, or canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious respiratory disease among dogs. It’s similar to a chest cold for humans and is caused by various viruses and bacteria, including Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza virus. Dogs commonly contract kennel cough in places where large numbers of canines congregate, like dog parks, boarding facilities, and grooming salons.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Kennel Cough
Awareness of kennel cough symptoms is vital for early detection and treatment. The quicker you notice something amiss with your pooch, the sooner you can get them back on the path to wellness. Potential symptoms may include:
- Persistent Cough: The most distinct sign of kennel cough is a persistent, often harsh-sounding cough. This cough can be quite startling and is frequently described as sounding like a goose honk. It’s important to understand that this cough is not just an occasional throat-clearing noise; it’s more consistent and can be intense. The cough is usually dry and can be triggered by excitement or physical activity. Sometimes, it’s severe enough to end with gagging or retching, leading to the expulsion of foamy mucus.
- Runny Nose: You might notice a clear discharge, which can sometimes be thicker if a secondary infection is present. It’s essential to keep an eye on this, as a change in the color or consistency of the discharge can indicate more serious issues.
- Sneezing: Just like the cough, sneezing is another way your dog’s body tries to rid itself of the irritants causing the infection. Frequent sneezing, especially when coupled with a runny nose, is a common companion to the cough seen in kennel cough.
- Loss of Appetite: Dogs feeling under the weather often lose their usual enthusiasm for food. If your usually food-motivated buddy is suddenly indifferent to meal times, this could be a sign they’re not feeling well. While a day of poor appetite might not be alarming, ongoing disinterest in food warrants veterinary attention.
- Low Fever: While not as easily detected as other symptoms, a low-grade fever can accompany kennel cough. This might make your dog feel warmer than usual to the touch, especially around their ears and under their armpits. A feverish dog may also appear lethargic or less active than normal.
- Lethargy: If your dog, who is typically full of energy, seems unusually tired or lacks their normal vigor, it could be a sign of kennel cough or another infection. They might seem less excited about activities they usually enjoy, such as walks or playtime.
- Slight Eye Discharge: In some cases, dogs with kennel cough may also have a mild discharge from their eyes, which could be clear or slightly cloudy. While this symptom isn’t as common as coughing or a runny nose, it’s still something to be aware of.
- Irritability: Some dogs may become irritable or less tolerant of interaction. If your dog seems more withdrawn or responds negatively to usual petting or play, it could be a response to the discomfort they’re experiencing.
- Sleep Pattern Changes: You might notice changes in their sleeping patterns, such as sleeping more during the day or being restless at night. This can be due to discomfort or difficulty breathing normally.
When to Seek Veterinary Attention
It’s critical to seek veterinary attention if your dog shows any symptoms of kennel cough, especially if they persist for more than a few days, or if you notice your pet having difficulty breathing or becoming lethargic. Early intervention can prevent the infection from worsening or spreading to other pets.
Treatment Options at Advanced Pet Care of Clear Lake
While kennel cough might seem like a mild ailment, it can lead to more serious health issues, especially in puppies, older dogs, or those with pre-existing health conditions. This is why professional veterinary care is crucial. At Advanced Pet Care of Clear Lake, our team of compassionate veterinary professionals is ready to provide your dog with top-notch care to manage and recover from kennel cough.
Upon your visit, we’ll perform a thorough examination of your pet to confirm the diagnosis and assess their overall health. This may involve listening to their lungs, checking for any signs of a more severe respiratory illness, and discussing your dog’s history and symptoms with you.
Developing a Treatment Plan
Based on the examination, our veterinarians will develop a treatment plan tailored to your dog’s needs. This plan may include medications to alleviate symptoms, such as cough suppressants or antibiotics if a bacterial infection is present.
Preventive Measures to Protect Your Dog
Preventing kennel cough is key to keeping your dog healthy, especially if they regularly interact with other dogs. Here’s what you can do:
- Vaccination: One of the most effective preventive measures against kennel cough is vaccination. The Bordetella vaccine, often required by boarding and grooming facilities, helps protect against the most common strain of bacteria causing kennel cough. There are different types of vaccines available, including injectable and intranasal options. At Advanced Pet Care of Clear Lake, we can discuss the best vaccination schedule for your dog, considering their lifestyle, age, and overall health.
- Avoid High-Risk Areas: Kennel cough spreads easily in places where many dogs gather, such as dog parks, boarding kennels, and doggy daycare centers. If there’s an outbreak in your area, it’s wise to limit your dog’s exposure to these high-risk environments until the risk diminishes.
- Maintain Good Hygiene: Regular cleaning of your dog’s living area, bowls, and toys can help reduce the risk of kennel cough. Using pet-safe disinfectants can eliminate harmful pathogens that may be present in their environment.
- Strengthen Immune Health: Keeping your dog healthy overall can help them fight off infections like kennel cough. This includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and keeping up with all recommended vaccinations and health check-ups.
- Controlled Socialization: While socialization is essential for your dog’s wellbeing, controlling their interactions during times of known outbreaks can be beneficial. This doesn’t mean isolating your pet, but rather being selective about their playmates and avoiding crowded dog areas.
- Prompt Isolation of Sick Dogs: If your dog shows symptoms of kennel cough, it’s crucial to keep them away from other dogs to prevent spreading the disease. This includes avoiding public spaces where other dogs are present until your vet gives the all-clear.
- Regular Vet Check-Ups: Regular check-ups with us at Advanced Pet Care of Clear Lake can help catch and prevent not just kennel cough, but various other health issues. These visits are an opportunity to discuss concerns and stay updated on preventive care measures.
Call Advanced Pet Care of Clear Lake Today
Kennel cough doesn’t have to be a cause for panic, but it’s not something to ignore. Recognizing the symptoms early and getting professional treatment is the key to ensuring your dog’s quick recovery and long-term health. Remember, at the first sign of a cough or change in behavior, it’s best to call Advanced Pet Care of Clear Lake at (281) 486-1509. Our veterinary team is here to support your pet through their recovery and to keep them happy and healthy for all the fun days ahead!