Kennel cough in canines is caused by bacteria or viruses or a combination of both. The most common infectious agents are bordetella bronchiseptica (bacteria) and parainfluenza and adenovirus(viruses). Besides, other pathogenic agents like mycoplasma may also cause kennel cough in dogs. Mycoplasmas are small parasitic bacteria that can survive without oxygen and cause pneumonia as well as infections of the urinary tract. The initial symptoms of dry cough in puppies and adult dogs surface after the incubation period of the agent causing the infection has been completed. This ranges from three to seven days.
Although the infection on its own causes an insignificant damage to the lining of bronchi and trachea, it results in an exposure of the nerves. The exposed nerve endings get irritated as air passes over them and results in a dry hacking cough. As such, exercise also triggers a persistent dry cough as the dog breathes hard to cool itself.
The duration of kennel cough in dogs is limited to fifteen days and the lining heals on its own once the infection disappears. Kennel cough is rarely life threatening but if symptoms like lack of appetite and fever are observed it is better to consult a veterinarian for treatment. Kennel cough in puppies is considered to be potentially dangerous and should be treated well in time to avoid the development of secondary infections.
It may be difficult to avoid exposure to infectious agents all the time. Vaccination is often advised for protection and to restrict the severity and frequency of infection. Two types of vaccination, intranasal and injectable, are available. But these may not guarantee protection from infection as there are a number of agents that cause kennel cough. You may also be required to update vaccination frequently, especially before boarding. Treatment of kennel cough involves the use of antibiotics for killing the pathogen. Cough syrups are also used for alleviating symptoms of cough.
A strong immune system is a natural mode of prevention. You may also look for natural remedies like dietary modifications, herbs and homeopathic remedies for boosting your dog’s natural ability to combat infections.
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