What does kennel cough sound like in a Shih Tzu? A Shih Tzu who has kennel cough sounds like it has a persistent heart honking cough, a sudden dry hacking cough, sneezing, snorting, retching, gagging or vomiting. Watch our short video so see and hear what it sounds like.
Kennel Cough also called infectious trachea bronchi and is a very common respiratory infection in dogs. If your canine family never seems to be coughing or making a choking sound he may have kennel Cough, especially if recently he spent time at an animal shelter or boarding facility or dog park where he was exposed to a lot of other dogs.
Kennel Cough is a form of bronchitis and is similar to a chest cold in humans, and has a number of different causes. The most common of which is the bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria.
Many people think bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria alone causes Kennel Cough, but that’s technically not accurate. In fact, dogs who acquire Bordetella bacteria usually also have a virus such as Aabno virus, distemper, herpes or parrot influenza that makes them more vulnerable to infection.
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How Long is Kennel Cough Contagious For?
Kennel Cough is very contagious and dogs can remain infectious for six to fourteen weeks after symptoms resolved. Dog to dog exposure occurs when an infected dog coughs or sneezes and a healthy dog inhales the aerosolized respiratory secretions.
The canine respiratory tract is coated with a protective lining of mucous, but if this lining is compromised an infection can take hold from the inhaled particles.
The result is inflammation of the larynx and trachea and it’s the inflammation that causes coughing. If the healthy dog’s respiratory tract is compromised by stressors such as travel, being housed, in a crowded environment, cold temperatures, environmental pollutants or infectious viruses that could be floating around then bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria
This bacterial defect the chief bacterial agents in kennel cough can enter the respiratory tract.
Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria are usually accompanied by at least one other infectious agent, usually a virus, so kennel cough is actually multiple infections occurring at once and not just a single infection. This is one of the reasons that the vaccine is oftentimes not effective.
A small percent of cases kennel cough can progress to pneumonia requiring antibiotics in heart disease some type of treatment is needed to reduce the size of the heart and reduce the fluid in the airways.
Humidifier adding humidity to the air will calm and irritated airway, you can put on a humidifier in your pets room or put your pet in the bathroom and turn on the shower.
Remove the dog collar off any irritated airway will benefit from having less pressure put on it. Remove your dog’s collar and use a harness for restraint, avoid putting any pressure on your dog’s throat especially in chronic coughing cases such as in tracheal collapse herbal.
Kennel Cough Symptoms
There’s a number of different herbs that can help with coughing dogs. Stimulating the immune system can speed recovery due to herbs, I like echinacea and goldenseal and they both have antiviral and antibacterial properties.
Tinks are doshas are one drop or pound of bodyweight, twice daily. Licorice root is an effective cost suppressant but it’s something you don’t want to use any longer than five days and don’t use it long-term or cautiously.
Especially if there’s underlying liver kidney or heart disease the licorice root takes your dose is one drop per pound of body weight twice daily dandelion it’s a wonderful overlooked herb to be beneficial for a number of things including fluid and coughing in the Airways the leaves act as a diuretic helping to remove the excess.
Where Does Your Shih Tzu Get Kennel Cough From?
Most cases of kennel Cough occur in areas where dogs are super crowded with adequate ventilation and lots of warm air and a stressed immune system.
A dog good examples of these are boarding kennels, grooming shops and shelters. The universal symptom of bordetella infection is a persistent heart honking cough, a sudden dry hacking cough, sneezing, snorting, retching, gagging or vomiting.
In fact coughing to the point that dogs vomit in response to very light pressure to the trachea, or spasmodic cough when a dog is excited or exercising, are all really common symptoms of kennel cough.
If your dog has a totally healthy cough and then instantly has the spasmodic coughing, you need to be thinking about Kennel Cough. Your dog may also cough up foaming white phlegm or nasal or ocular secretions.
Occasionally there will be other signs of illness such as a runny nose, sneezing, depression, maybe a mild fever. Just like humans that have cold symptoms the duration of infection can be incredibly variable between dogs.
Kennel cough rarely causes appetite loss or lethargy ,so if your dog is showing these symptoms as well, there could be something else going on.
Can Dogs Die From Kennel Cough?
Symptoms usually occur 2 to 14 days after exposure and mild cases of kennel cough. Dogs usually continue to eat and they remain alert. When the condition is more serious there can be lethargy, loss of appetite,and the cold can actually migrate into life-threatening pneumonia.
Just like humans that have colds most of the time it doesn’t require hospitalization, but occasionally things colds can morph into other things like pneumonia.
And while most colds don’t require any type of hospitalization sometimes the infection progresses to a point where that is required. Most of the time severe cases of kennel cough primarily occurred Immunol-compromised dogs are in very young puppies.
Diagnosis of Kennel Cough
Diagnosis of kennel cough include taking a history of the symptoms of the dog in terms of what he’s physically experiencing but also any history of time spent at a boarding kennel, doggy daycare or other facility where there’s lots of dogs.
Bacterial cultures, viral isolation and blood work may be performed to identify the specific pathogens that’s causing the exact type of kennel cough. if the dog has symptoms that are really profound, like requiring hospitalization, which is actually quite rare.
Sometimes x-rays are done to check for pneumonia or bronchitis. kennel cough symptoms usually lasts between 10 and 20 days and can sometimes recur if there’s periods of stress.
most cases resolve on their own without any medical intervention so I don’t automatically recommend that you have to zip off to the veterinarian, especially for unnecessary antibiotics because antibiotics don’t address the viral component of this infection.
I always prefer to let the dog’s body heal itself naturally, during the acute phase of the illness I strongly recommend using a harness to prevent your dog’s collar from aggravating the situation, especially if they tend to pull a lot on their leash when they walk.
If your dog is coughing where he’s gagging and then seemingly he’s retching something up such as cuffing up a hairball, but that’s more typical of tracheal collapse. If the coughing is
more prolonged similar to that but even more forceful that going throughout the day and it happened and started all of a sudden then we’re we’re dealing with something like kennel cough.
Where as in if it’s more of a wet sounding cough and it happens when your dog lays down, or at night and in the morning that’s much more common with the cough that we see in heart disease,
You can also try humidifying the air. I personally add a few drops of pure lavender oil to help soothe the dog’s throat, and also with humidification you can also help decrease coughing spells.
Complete recovery from kennel cough can usually take up to three weeks in healthy dogs and twice as long in older patients, or those with underlying immunosuppressive conditions.
Puppies can also take a little bit longer to recover because their immune systems are not yet fully developed.
Since a serious episode of kennel cough can result in pneumonia, if your dog doesn’t start to improve on her own within about a week, or if the coughing becomes progressively worse, or if your dog sparks the fever, or stops eating those are all really important reasons to make an appointment with your veterinarian.
I also recommend seeing a veterinarian if you have a puppy with symptoms that go beyond typical symptoms of kennel cough. For example, if you see a change in breathing pattern, if your puppy has difficulty breathing, if there’s a loss of appetite or markedly diminished energy level are all reasons to visit your vet.
What Can I Give My Shih Tzu For A Cough?
There are some awesome natural remedies that I use for many many years to speed a dog to recover from kennel cough and reduce the severity of symptoms, including a special brand of echinacea.
You can buy at any human health food store called esperan tox, I also add in Manuka honey. Manuka comes from the tea tree plant, you can buy that at the health food store as well. I use raw garlic as an herb called olive leaf.
Slippery elm can be very beneficial at soothing the throat and I actually used throat code tea which is a brand of human tea which contains licorice which is also great for sore throats.
Added vitamin C can help boost your dog’s immune system and diffusing the essential oils of eucalyptus, lavender and tea tree. You can diffuse those oils that can also help shorten the duration of infection.
Homeopathic kennel cough nodes can also be very beneficial but they’re buying prescription only so you’ll need to work with your integrative veterinarian to secure those.
Many veterinarians recommend Bordetella vaccines, either by injection or by intranasal delivery. Many boarding kennels, doggie day care facilities, groomers and other similar businesses require that dogs be vaccinated for kennel cough.
The reason behind this requirement is to remove liability from those businesses, it bounces liability away from those businesses. the truth is, immunologist Dr. Ron schultz states that Bordetella is an unvaccinated disease and that vaccines are generally ineffective and will not prevent your dog from getting kennel cough.
The infection of course is caused by a wide variety of bacterial and viral agents, so no single vaccine is going to provide protection from all of those sources, nor will the vaccine treat an active infection.
In addition whatever protection the vaccine might be offering wears off very quickly, usually in less than a year. This means your pet will need to be revaccinated every six months.
If you are patronizing businesses that demand this vaccine, on the rare occasion where I must provide a Bordetella vaccine for a doctor travel or to be boarded I always use the nose drop variety. It’s much less toxic, it doesn’t contain the strong edge events that the injectable version has and it has few if any side effects.
Remember your dog can still acquire kennel cough infection, even if she’s been vaccinated.
Is Kennel Cough Contagious To Humans?
Kennel Cough is a respiratory infection that can be transmitted very easily from dog to dog but not from dog to humans. Humans can carry the virus but cannot get a cough from the virus
Can Humans Pass Kennel Cough From Dog To Dog?
The simple answer is yes because kennel cough can be transmitted from a human to another dog from their hands or face, let me explain. The only way a dog can transfer kennel cough to a human is by coughing or sneezing around a human.
he droplets can attach to the human skin and then be transferred to another dog very easily. This is why you should always wash your hands after handling a dog.
Can My Dog Still Get Kennel Cough if Vaccinated?
According to the American Kennel Club KC Bordetella vaccine is just one of the infections that can cause kennel cough so having your dog vaccinated for Bordetella vaccine doesn’t mean your dog won’t catch kennel cough from one of the other viruses like para-influenza virus.