Kennel Cough - Prevention Is the Best Cure

By Tess Thompson

Tracheobronchitis, or kennel cough in canines, is mostly caused by exposure to an infected dog or dogs. It is characterized by inflammation of the respiratory tract, which causes symptoms like a dry cough, sneezing, snorting, and sometimes nasal discharge. The infection usually occurs in crowded places where infected dogs may be present.

Unless it is a severe condition, kennel cough in dogs is a self-limiting condition, and the symptoms tend to disappear on their own in mild cases. However, it is better to take preventive measures, since kennel cough can lead to serious conditions like pneumonia.

Although a bit impractical, the best prevention is to limit exposure to other dogs that may be infected. The next best option is vaccination. If your dog has been vaccinated with a standard 5-way or 7-way vaccine, there are chances that he is already protected from several viral agents such as parainfulenza and adenovirus, the common viruses causing kennel cough.

If that is not the case, an intranasal vaccine can protect against these viruses and a bacterium known as Bordetella bronchiseptica, a major bacterial agent that causes kennel cough in dogs. The decision to vaccinate or not to vaccinate depends largely on individual circumstances. There are, however, certain factors that you need to know regarding vaccination.

  • Generally, if your dog is not shown, boarded, or does not come in contact with stray dogs, he is at a very low risk of getting infected.
  • Vaccination is ineffective if the dog has already been infected and the infective agent is still in the incubation stage.
  • Intranasal vaccine takes four days to provide effective protection. If you are opting for vaccination, ensure that it is done at least four days before you are likely to board or show him. Some dogs develop signs of mild kennel cough after this vaccine, which vanish in several days without treatment. There is also some shedding of the virus that may cause infection in other dogs.

There is adequate natural protection against invasion of infective agents that cause kennel cough. Dogs with a strong immune system are less likely to suffer from tracheobronchitis than those whose immunity has been compromised. Boosting your dog’s immune system can also help prevent kennel cough. Vitamin C supplements, herbal tinctures like Echinacea and Golden seal, and colloidal silver can greatly promote the body’s immune system. Homeopathic remedies like bryonia and drosera provide multiple benefits of treating as well as increasing the body’s ability to self-heal and protect from several infectious diseases, including kennel cough.


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