We had a pretty good summer, with few cases of this contagious cough, but definitely saw our share at the end of the summer! So what is Kennel Cough?
Kennel cough is an infectious bronchitis of dogs characterized by a harsh, hacking cough that most people describe as sounding like “something stuck in their throat.” Most cases are mild and short-term and require no treatment. But if your dog is coughing enough to be waking up, is restless, off food, lethargic or has discharge from their eyes or nose, then a vet visit is in order!
Lots of different organisms, viral and bacterial, cause kennel cough, which is why vaccines are not completely effective at preventing it, although they often shorten the course and the severity of the infection. This is also why vets do not routinely prescribe antibiotics for all cases; it depends on severity of the cough, and the degree to which they suspect a bacterial component. Puppies in particular are at risk for this disease, and are more prone to possible complications (including pneumonia and bronchitis), so need to be monitored closely.
A typical course is 7 to 10 days of coughing, but the dog may be contagious for up to 2 months. We ask that you avoid dog-dog contact during that time. If your dog's condition worsens at all, please contact the vet again. This includes going off food, seeming lethargic (lacking energy), being restless overnight or troubles breathing.