Atchoo! Is that sneezing and coughing Kennel Cough?

October 23, 2018

Atchoo! Is that sneezing and coughing Kennel Cough?

Atchoo! Our pups were under the weather

From Dr. Jason...

Last week our 5 month old miniature dachshund puppies came down with the sniffles. Kaldi and Kolo were sneezing and wheezing, and Kolo especially felt really pooped and under the weather.

My wife always goes into panic mode whenever the pets get sick. I gave the pups a thourough exam, and tried to assure her “it’s just a virus; it’ll go away..” What virus? she demanded. Well, the truth was, I had no idea. Here’s why.
(It did go away, by the way. They are feeling much better now!)

Puppies and kitties get “colds” too

Puppies and kittens have more fragile immune systems than adult pets, and just like children, they are more succeptable to season illnesses. You can see Kolo and Kaldi were sneezing up a storm last week in the video.

We do have names for many of the viruses and bacterial infections they can contract, but sometimes they just get whatever random virus is going around.

So what’s Kennel Cough then?

Kennel cough is a layperson’s term for canine infectious tracheobronchitis, although people also use the term to describe reverse sneezing. Tracheobronchitis is can be caused by multiple viruses and bacteria, including the more famous Bordetella bronchiseptica. Reverse sneezing, which is what our pups were doing, can be caused by post-nasal drips and irritation of the throat. Typically, neither is dangerous, but you do want to get it checked out by the vet in case a cough or a sneeze is an indication of a more serious problem, like heart failure or allergies.

How can I protect my cat or dog against coughs and sneezes?

Although we vaccinate against some of these causal viruses and bacteria, we can’t catch them all. A pup can catch kennel cough at any place they interact with other dogs. Indoor cats can even get viruses from secondary contact with your clothes that touch other cats.

It’s definitely worth making sure your dog has immunity to the typical canine viruses that we vaccinate against, including distemper and parvovirus. Cats should also have immunity to the common respiratory diseases. We check their immunity with a blood test called a titre test, and boost their immunity with a vaccine, if needed. Again, it’s not a cure-all, but it does lower their chances of picking up the common illnesses.

It is also important to keep your pets in good general health, feeding them nutritious food, keeping them warm in the winter, and ensuring they aren’t under a lot of stress. Our pups got chilled on a bike ride, and that was just enough immune system stress for them to go under the weather.

How do I treat my dog or cat’s cough or sneezes?

Well, first bring them in to see me or your regular vet. Coughs and sneezing in themselves aren’t serious, but we do want to screen your pet for more serious illnesses, such as congestive heart failure (often the first sign is a cough,) pneumonia, feline respiratory illnesses and others. It’s important to rule those out first, and of course, each disease and pet is treated individually.

If your pet simply has a “puppy or kitty cold” like Kolo and Kaldi did, then we will boost their immune system with herbs, give them extra warmth, TLC and rest. We have powered herbs that cats will eat, and easy herbal tincture drops for dogs.

Kolo and Kaldi are now back to full health... you can see Kolo is happy to help with household chores. We are keeping them happy with warm coats and extra snuggle blankets at home for this cooler season.

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