Canine Cough

October 14, 2009


Canine Cough is the equivalent of influenza in humans and is very common among dogs. Tracheobronchitis (Canine cough) is a highly contagious, upper-respiratory disease which is spread by an air-borne virus  It’s also known as “kennel cough” because some dogs can contract the virus in a boarding kennel. Because of the highly contagious nature of this virus, dogs can contract it anywhere even when visiting a vet office. The incubation period of the disease is roughly 3-6 days. The main symptom is a hacking, gagging cough, (like your dog is choking), sometimes followed by a nasal discharge.

The symptoms can vary in severity and can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Although this coughing is very annoying, it does not usually develop into anything more serious. However, just as with humans and the common cold, it can lower the dog’s resistance to other diseases making them more susceptible to secondary infection, which is why vets will prescribe antibiotics and prescription strength cough suppressants. It’s best to avoid socializing with other dogs until the coughing has stopped. Best to keep your dog’s activity to a minimum to allow them to heal faster. Most canine cough case don’t require veterinarian care, however if a dog has either a temperature, wasn’t eating, coughing excessively, I wouldn’t hesitate to take them to the Vet.

Veterinarians recommend the canine cough (bordetella) vaccine to be administered every 6 months to 12 months, depending on the area you live or exposure to other dogs. This vaccine doesn’t protect against every strain of the virus and just like humans and a flu shot, it doesn’t guarantee they won’t get sick.  “Nosodes” are the Homeopathic alternative to the pharmacy strength vaccines. You can find plenty of information on the web about them.

Some people choose not to vaccinate their dog against the virus and just treat them with antibiotics if infected.  A dog catching this virus is similar to us catching a cold from a co-worker or a child catching a cold from a schoolmate. The reality is sometimes dogs catch things from other dogs, protected or not; it’s all part of being a dog owner.  Any dog is susceptible to this virus,  a dog who socializes more or who travel more, generally has a much stronger immune system and when exposed to the virus,  they either don’t get sick or show minimal symptoms and recover within a few days.  Although the Bordetella vaccine is probably the least toxic on a dogs body compared to the other required shots, I’m personally not crazy about giving my dog shots and I’ve never had a flu shot and I very rarely get sick.  A dog’s immune system, like ours- builds the antibodies for these viruses, and unless the dog has a lowered immune system or stays at home a lot,  they don’t need some of these shots.  Please read more on this important subject: SHORTNING A DOGS LIFE .

I’m not a vet and I’m not making any recommendations. It’s just a good idea to learn more about your dogs health.

Other blogs I recommend :  BASIC DOG CARE


Comments are closed.