Picture this, you take your dog to the park to romp, roll, and get out all those puppy yayas. Then about 5-7 days later you wake up to hear this terrible cough with a retch at the end of it. Guess what? Your pup might have kennel cough!
Kennel cough is the downside that comes with so many dogs coming and going, headed to boarding, daycare, dog parks, play dates, etc. I pretty much equate it to your kid coming home with pink eye from daycare. We see outbreaks of kennel cough every few months, usually around the holidays, in the summer and around spring break. We are currently seeing about 5-10 dogs a week this January for it.
“Kennel cough” or tracheobronchitis signs will usually start about 3-7 days after the pet was first exposed. Symptoms generally start with a mild cough while excited or walking on a leash. In many dogs this is self-limiting and will get better on its own and does not require any additional intervention. In some dogs, however, it can progress to round the clock coughing, and will often lead to such a violent cough, the dog will sometimes retch at the end either bringing up white foam or undigested food.
“But my pet is vaccinated?” Unfortunately, the vaccines today only vaccinate for 1-4 of the culprits of kennel cough when there are at least 50 different things that can cause “Kennel cough.” There is also no way to know which animals will come down with the cough. Out of 50 exposed pets, we will likely only see 3-4 become infected. It’s not uncommon to see two dogs in the same house start coughing, or one dog in a house of 3 become sick. Kennel cough is contagious to other dogs but not to people or cats. You should keep your pet away from other dogs and out of daycare for at least 7-10 days.
For the most part in young healthy dogs, this is a fairly easy illness to treat, and it doesn’t often progress to anything serious. You can contact your veterinarian for a cough suppressant and antibiotics and pretty soon your entire house will be able to get some rest.