Dog owners are likely familiar with the respiratory disease known as kennel cough. While most cases have historically been mild, a more severe form of infection is on the rise.
Because kennel cough is a contagious respiratory disease that spreads easily among dogs, Dr. Kathleen Eicher, assistant professor at Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, said it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of the disease as well as what to do if you suspect your dog has been exposed.
“There are a variety of factors that can cause kennel cough, whether it’s bacterial or viral,” said Aicher. “But, sometimes cases of kennel cough can be exacerbated by other infectious respiratory infections that dogs can catch that they have no protection against, or can be severely affected, leading to severe cases of kennel cough.”
Mild versus severe cases
Traditionally, dogs with a mild case of kennel cough can recover quickly after being prescribed cough suppressants or supportive care focused on relieving symptoms, which can include fever, cough, nasal snoring or discharge, discharge from the eyes, and sneezing.
On the other hand, dogs who develop severe cases of respiratory disease may require intensive treatment, as these conditions can affect the dogs’ long-term health. Escher noted that in recent years, veterinarians have noticed outbreaks in areas of the country where younger dogs have been affected the most.
These dogs required more diagnosis and supportive care than was the case historically for “garden-variety” kennel cough. Some dogs have developed long-term symptoms that can affect their health for the rest of their lives.
“Dogs that have a more severe form get affected very quickly and may require hospitalization and oxygen, which are things that dogs with kennel cough usually don’t need,” Escher said.
“Some may have permanent disease or damage to their lungs that persists, resulting in the need for long-term medical treatment or, in rare cases, surgery to remove a diseased part of the lungs. It is therefore important that if owners suspect their dog may have a kennel cough they consult them. with the vet, no matter the severity of their symptoms, so they can know what action to take.”
In order to better protect against contagious respiratory diseases, Aicher said owners should make sure their dogs are vaccinated against bacteria and viruses that can cause kennel cough, such as Bordetella and canine influenza.
“In addition to vaccinating dogs, owners should ensure that dogs are brought to places that only accept healthy, vaccinated dogs, and if they know their dog is sick or if their dog shows symptoms of a respiratory illness, owners should not bring dogs with them,” said Aicher. This will prevent dogs from inadvertently transmitting the disease to other dogs, in case it is contagious.”
When do you go to the vet?
If your dog is around other dogs, such as in a boarding facility or doggie daycare, owners should pay attention to any initial symptoms of respiratory illness that the dog may display after exposure to other dogs.
“If dogs develop a cough, have difficulty breathing, or feel weak after being around other dogs, owners should see them by a vet as soon as possible or visit an emergency clinic if a vet is not available,” said Aicher.
Before arriving at the clinic or hospital, Aicher strongly recommends that owners inform the veterinary team that will be providing their dogs care that the incoming patient has been around other dogs, since kennel cough is contagious.
“The veterinary team may choose to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) or bring your dog through a different entrance to the hospital to prevent the disease from spreading easily. They may take additional precautions that may be different if it is due to another cause of respiratory symptoms such as heart disease or asthma,” said Escher. “.
While infectious respiratory diseases can have devastating effects, Eicher reiterates to owners that their dogs are very likely to make a full recovery, especially with the guidance of their veterinarian.
“The majority of dogs recover from this disease without any kind of problem, and go back to living normal, healthy lives,” said Aicher. “For those most affected, talking to a vet early on and having their dog examined are ways that can help a faster recovery.”
Respiratory illnesses can be irritating for dog owners and their furry friends alike. By prioritizing your dog’s respiratory health and staying alert when your dog begins to feel unwell, owners can relax knowing their pet is protected while also protecting other dogs.
the quote: Protecting Dogs from Outbreaks of Respiratory Disease (2023, June 2) Retrieved June 2, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-06-dogs-outbreaks-respiratory-disease.html
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