Kennel cough illness on the rise in dogs

Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 5:22 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A potentially-deadly illness in dogs has been spreading across many states. Kennel cough can last for weeks and may not be responsive to antibiotics.

“Kennel cough is exactly what it sounds like. Your dog will be coughing and it is usually transmitted at kennels or high-density animal facilities, like vet clinics or boarding facilities,” said Dr. Brayton Hammes of Gill Bright Animal Hospital.

7News is told though there has not been an outbreak in southern states, there have been more cases than usual for this time of year.

“We recommend that our dogs get vaccinated against it, um, more or so two weeks before boarding, it gives their immune system time to kind of build up antibodies to the vaccine,” said Dr. Hammes.

Typically, kennel cough appears during summer as most dogs are more social during these months.

“Kennel cough, if left untreated, it can kind of build up to be more of a bacterial infection inside the lungs, which could progress to pneumonia,” said Dr. Hammes.

It is transmitted via nose or mouth contact or when they cough a bacteria called Bordetella Bronchiseptica. Kennel cough is actually a complex mix of the bacteria and viral pathogens.

Symptoms include a loud cough, lack of appetite, runny eyes or nose, and swollen tonsils.

“So, we recommend, if your dog is coughing and has been exposed to kennel cough, we suggest you bring them in, we can do some chest triads and kind of declare what lung pattern we are dealing with prior to treatment. Usually, they will go home on an antibiotic against the bacteria and a steroid to break down the inflammation that is going on,” said Dr. Hammes.

Once your furry friend is treated, try to avoid bringing them to any high-volume areas for at least two weeks while they recover.