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How Do Dogs Get Kennel Cough

Posted on September 3, 2012 by Dodson & Horrell There have been 0 comments

Dog owners are constantly concerned about the health of their pets. With so many different parasites, infections and potential health problems that might arise, pet owners need to learn about the most common sicknesses a dog might face. Kennel cough is a common sickness that many dogs face throughout their life. By understanding how the sickness is spread, the major causes of the cough and the best preventative measures, it is easier to protect the family pet.

What Is Kennel Cough

Kennel cough, which is also called canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is an infection of the lungs that affects many dogs. It is usually classified by a noticeable cough or a choking sound dogs make while they are suffering from the infection.

In most situations, kennel cough will not result in serious complications. Most dogs will heal without any treatment as the immune system fights off the infection. While it is not usually serious enough to call a vet, some pet dogs might develop pneumonia if the infection persists. Pet owners who are concerned about the length of the sickness, worsening symptoms or feel the symptoms might be a different disorder should discuss the problem with a vet.

Causes of Kennel Cough

The only way to understand how dogs become infected with the sickness is learning about the major causes. In most cases, kennel cough is directly related to bacterial or viral infections. A wide range of bacteria or viruses get into the system and ultimately cause the coughing, choking and similar symptoms pet owners notice.

In most cases, the bacterium or virus infecting the dog will not cause major harm. The dog should be able to fight off the sickness within a few weeks of noticing the symptoms. Unfortunately, some bacteria and viruses can result in worsening conditions. These microscopic organisms are less common and rarely infect dogs.

Common Methods of Infection

Dogs who start showing symptoms of kennel cough have a few main methods of obtaining the sickness. Pet owners who understand how a dog becomes infected can take measures to prevent the cough or avoid future instances of the sickness.

The most common method of infection is exposure to airborne bacteria or viruses. Other dogs who cough or sneeze on the dog usually cause the infection. The dog breaths in the bacteria or virus and ends up with a lung infection. This commonly occurs when several dogs are kept in the same location and are in close proximity, such as in a kennel or at a dog show.

Beyond breathing in the bacteria or virus, dogs are also likely to get the cough from contaminated surfaces. Whether the dog licks the surface, rubs up against it or otherwise is exposed to the bacteria, it can still lead to infections. Dogs who are not kept with other dogs might get the sickness from a dusty house, cigarette smoke or even outdoor locations if infectious bacteria or viruses are in the area.

Impact of Environment

Since kennel cough is caused by bacteria and viruses that are found throughout homes, outdoor locations, in kennels and in other areas, the environment can play a role in the development of the sickness. While some factors do not necessarily cause the sickness, they might contribute to a dog’s likelihood of developing the cough.

A closed in environment, such as in a kennel or shelter, plays a key role in the spread of kennel cough. The lack of ventilation allows bacteria and viruses to stay in the area and spread the sickness to other dogs. While it does not necessarily mean a dog in a poorly ventilated area will catch kennel cough, it can increase the risk.

Cold weather conditions can also play a role in the development of sickness. Cold weather itself will not cause a cough, but it does weaken a dog’s immune system. As a result, any bacteria or viruses that get into the system after cold exposure might be able to cause symptoms until the immune system is strong enough to fight off the sickness.

Stressful environments can also contribute in a similar manner as cold weather. The stress of travelling or a stressful home life due to turmoil among the owners can result in a weaker immune system. This means that the dog is more likely to develop symptoms of kennel cough.

Preventative Measures

Since kennel cough is caused by microscopic organisms, pet owners cannot always protect their pets. Despite this fact, preventative measures are available that reduce the risk and ensure a dog is strong enough to fight off the infection if it occurs.

Reducing the stress a dog faces as much as possible is a key part of protecting against sickness. Stress from weather conditions, travelling and similar situations will often lead to sickness as the immune system weakens. A strong immune system can beat the infection before it spreads and shows symptoms.

Proper diet and exercise is also a preventative measure because it helps a dog maintain a healthy immune system. Poor diet or a lack of exercise will have a similar impact as stress and should be avoided.

Ensuring good ventilation and constant dusting will also help. It reduces the amount of bacteria in the environment for healthier conditions.

Dogs get kennel cough through exposure to infectious organisms. The best way to protect a pet is ensuring he or she has a strong immune system and limiting the amount of possible exposure.

Dodson & Horrell Pet Foods


Guest post by :+Tim Capper


This post was posted in Dogs and was tagged with dog food, kennel cough


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