With summer in full swing in Denver, many people are heading out of town on vacation, whether it’s a quick weekend getaway or a more extended excursion. Your travels might not include the company of furry family members, so you’ll want to make proper arrangements at boarding facilities and doggie daycares. But if your pup will be spending time with other dogs, be aware that he’ll be at increased risk of contracting kennel cough.

What is kennel cough?

Also known as infectious canine tracheobronchitis or bordetellosis, kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease that causes inflammation in the throat and lungs of dogs. Many dogs will be exposed to the bacterial infection at least once during their lifetime, but the dogs most at risk are puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with weakened immune systems.

The signs of kennel cough

Most dogs infected with kennel cough will begin to show the signs about three days after being exposed to a large number of other dogs.

How will you know if your dog has contracted kennel cough? The signs to watch for include:

  • A persistent, nagging cough
  • Watery nasal discharge
  • Retching
  • Lethargy

In severe cases, dogs suffering from kennel cough will develop pneumonia and a fever and can even die from the disease.

Diagnosing and treating kennel cough

If you’ve noticed some of the above signs of kennel cough in your dog, call our office. Depending on the specific symptoms and your dog’s history and health status, we may want to do blood work, chest X-rays, urinalysis, a fecal exam, or bacterial cultures.

If we determine your dog does indeed have kennel cough, treatment can vary from rest, proper hydration, and nutrition for mild cases to anti-inflammatory medications and antibiotics for more severe cases. If your dog has also developed pneumonia, hospitalization may be necessary.

Preventing kennel cough

Prevention, as usual, is the best medicine for kennel cough. All dogs should be vaccinated against canine adenovirus. Dogs at high risk of contracting kennel cough—those spending time around other dogs—should also be vaccinated against Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza virus.

Check to see if your is dog up to date on his vaccines. Contact us to find out more.