Could Your Senior Dog Have Kennel Cough?

Lindsey ZimmermanDog Health

As the holidays approach, many people have to board their dogs. Like a child exposed to all the germs at school, senior dogs can be extremely susceptible to kennel cough.  Unlike a child that can cover their mouth when they cough, this is a highly contagious illness for dogs.

What is Kennel Cough?
Kennel cough is a respiratory illness that dogs can catch when they are around other infected dogs, whether it’s in a shelter, dog park, rescue center or boarding facility. Although most of us pet parents know it as kennel cough, the official name is canine infectious respiratory disease or CID. When a dog has kennel cough his trachea and bronchi are inflamed.

Because puppies have immature immune systems, they can be very susceptible. Conversely, senior dogs often have decreased immune capabilities. Kennel cough is spread through direct contact (coughing, sneezing and touching noses) or contaminated surfaces (water and food bowls). If left untreated, kennel cough can turn into pneumonia and in extremely rare cases can be fatal.

What are the symptoms of kennel cough? According to petMd:

  • Persistent cough
  • Vomiting
  • Runny nose
  • In mild cases, dogs are often active and eating normally
  • In severe cases, symptoms progress and can include pneumonia, fever, lethargyand even death

What is the Treatment for Kennel Cough?
Treatment will depend on the severity of the illness. If your dog is eating, sleeping and drinking well, your vet may recommend just rest and plenty of liquids. If the symptoms are more severe, a course of antibiotics and cough medication may be prescribed. If the cough turns into pneumonia, your dog may have to be hospitalized.

If your dog is in one of the high-risk groups or is often exposed to large groups of dogs, you may want to get him the vaccine which prevents the most common type of bacteria causing kennel cough. However, it does not cover all the types of bacteria so your dog may still get kennel cough even with the vaccine. Know that many boarding or daycare facilities may require the vaccine.

If you have multiple dogs in your house, it may be best to separate them whenever possible, or at a minimum to separate their food and water bowls.

Although most humans do not contract kennel cough, young children and adults with compromised immune systems may be at risk. It’s best to ask your vet and family physician.

Help’EmUp wants you and your dog to be as healthy as possible this holiday season.