Originally Posted by cyber-sibes
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Persistent, hacking cough
Sounds as if he has a bone lodged in his throat
Retches after coughing, producing a white, foamy discharge
Gags when highly excited
If your dog displays any of the above symptoms, he may have what is known as "kennel cough". Kennel cough is a misnomer since the majority of dogs afflicted have not been in kennels at all but have been exposed to other dogs carrying the organisms which cause tracheobronchitis. The cough is brought on by an inflammation of the trachea (windpipe) and bronchi (the air passages to the lungs).
Some dogs also develop conjunctivitis ("pink eye"), rhinitis (inflamed nasal mucous membrane), and a nasal discharge. A rough estimation is that 80 to 90% of the cases of kennel cough are usually caused by the bacteria, Bordetella bronchiseptica. The other 10 to 20% of cases are caused by a variety of other infectious agents, most of them viral. Kennel cough has been associated with Para influenza virus, adenovirus and canine distemper virus as well as the Bordetella bacteria.
The virus is fairly contagious so if one dog has it, chances are all the others in the household will quickly become infected. In some dogs it can lead to pneumonia. The incubation period from the time a dog is exposed until clinical signs appear varies depending on which infectious agent is the cause. In general it appears to be about 3 to 5 days with Bordetella.
Most cases of kennel cough are not serious, and will run the course on their own within two weeks. Some vets feel that it is best not to use antibiotics since it is almost always self limiting and the organism is a normal inhabitant of the upper airways. Treating with antibiotics could lead to resistance problems and the most serious complication like pneumonia, would be difficult to treat if it occurred.
The uncomplicated form of the disease usually lasts for approximately ten days. Complicated kennel cough, usually a combination of virus and bacteria, should always be treated with antibiotics and may last 14-20 days. In mild cases, dogs will be alert and continue to eat normally. In more severe cases, a dog can become feverish, depressed, lethargic, expel a thick yellow or green nasal discharge, and possibly even develop pneumonia. Some very severe cases are fatal.
If your dog has the uncomplicated form of kennel cough, your main objective would be to make him as comfortable as possible so he can give his esophagus a rest. Too much coughing and gagging could result in him spitting up small amounts of blood as a result of the constant irritation. To avoid this, a cough suppressant can be used. A children's cough suppressant is best, along with a CHILD'S dosage. Do not administer an adult dosage for your dog nor use adult medication.
If you suspect your dog has kennel cough, keep all food, water bowls, and toys separate from your healthy dogs. Additionally, some pathogens that cause kennel cough can be transmitted from dog to dog via fomites (inanimate objects that carry disease-causing germs that spread infections. Fomites are one of the most common ways that kids get sick...dogs too!). After having contact with the infected dog, wash yourself and your clothes, and disinfect your shoes before coming into contact with your healthy dogs."
From: http://www.2ndchance.info/cough.htm Ron Hines DVM PhD 4/24/06
Kennel Cough In Dogs:
Kennel cough of dogs, also called infectious tracheobronchitis, is cause by the bacteria, Bordatella bronchiseptica. The signs of parainfluenza virus and Canine Adeno-2 virus can be indistinguishable from kennel cough and often the two or three organisms work in tandem along with mycoplasma to cause the cough.
Soft dry coughs and sneezing are the two most common signs of this disease. They begin 3-7 days after the dog was exposed to another sick pet. Some dogs with this problem only cough when they are excited. Kennel cough is highly contagious and passes directly from dog to dog at kennels, grooming parlors, pet stores, doggy parks and humane societies. Dogs with this disease rarely feel ill although they may vomit food and foam due to enlarged tonsils and tracheal irritation. In healthy dogs, the cough lasts seven days to three weeks. But it can persist much longer in flat-faced breeds or dogs with narrow tracheas (windpipes).
I have never seen a case of kennel cough that endangered a pet’s life. It is not clear that antibiotics speed recovery from this disease. But I place many dogs on antibiotics for a week or two, chiefly because owners are so annoyed by the constant racket. If the cough is not too severe I dispense a guaifenesin-based cough syrup. If guaifenesin is not sufficient to control the cough I put them on the narcotic cough suppressant, Hycodan. Humidifiers help clear mucous from the throat allowing the dog to breath easier.
Dogs that are frequently exposed to other pets should receive a kennel cough vaccination every six to twelve months. The intranasal vaccine is more effective than injectable products. Vaccinating a dog the day it goes to the kennel is valueless – it takes a good week to ten days for the vaccine to protect.
FEEL BETTER SOON, Sherm!!
/s/ Cinder, Smokey & Heidi
R.I.P. ~ Boots, Bowser, Sherman, & Snoopy