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Kennel cough in a dog: why the dog is coughing and how to help him?

A cough in a dog

A cough is defined as a sudden, strong exhalation of air through the epiglottis, most often accompanied by a sound.

It can sometimes be confused with vomiting or a downpour.

It is a very strong defensive reflex of the respiratory system. The cause of the cough can be localized in airways (lower or upper) or in a pattern cardiovascular.

In this article, you will find the most important reasons kennel cough. You will also learn what the symptoms are, how the treatment is going and what to do when your dog is coughing.

  • Cough in a dog and its infectious causes
    • Infectious inflammation of the upper respiratory tract
  • Kennel cough symptoms
    • Parasites
  • Cardiac cough in a dog
  • Collapsing trachea in a dog
  • Cancer as a Cause of Kennel Cough
  • My dog ​​is coughing, is that cause for concern?

Cough in a dog and its infectious causes

Infectious inflammation of the upper respiratory tract

Kennel cough (aka kitten) is a very common condition of dogs.

Dogs are particularly at risk:

  • living in groups,
  • living in shelters,
  • living in farms,
  • attending exhibitions,
  • visiting animal hotels.

The disease is caused by various viruses, entangled with bacteria (mainly Bordetella bronchiseptica) and is very easy to transfer between dogs.

Our pet can become infected with this disease by greeting a sick friend on a walk or drinking from his bowl.

Kennel cough symptoms

What are the symptoms of a dog coughing? Before I describe them in detail, watch the attached video.

What a Pug with kennel cough sounds like.
Watch this video on YouTube

The course of the disease largely depends on the body's immunity and whether the dog has been vaccinated against kennel cough.

Kennel cough vaccination should be performed routinely annually.

In resistant dogs, the infection is mild and manifests itself:

  • occasional, paroxysmal cough,
  • tenderness and sore throat,
  • slight decrease in appetite,
  • swallowing saliva.

Then it is enough to provide the pooch with peace for a few days and limit walks.

I recommend that you administer drugs that stimulate immunity (e.g. beta glucan), anti-inflammatory drugs, antitussive drugs, sometimes antibiotics prescribed by a veterinarian.

The course is more dramatic in postpartum bitches, puppies and immunocompromised dogs.

Symptoms such as:

  • high fever,
  • complete lack of appetite,
  • depression,
  • dyspnoea,
  • tiring, severe cough,
  • a bloody or purulent discharge may appear in the nostrils.
In the event of complications of the disease or its duration, pneumonia may develop.

Treatment then is there long lasting and can lead to permanent changes in the respiratory system.


Ascaris canis toxocara canis

Cause cough in dogs can also be canine roundworm larvae (Toxocara canis).

During their life cycle, they pass through the lungs, are expectorated and swallowed when they mechanically irritate the walls of the bronchi and trachea.

They then end up in the intestines where they mature.

This journey through the respiratory system provokes cough reflex.

Another parasite having more and more importance in our country is pulmonary nematode (Angiostrongylus vasorum).

Our pet can become infected with it by eating infected snails and by licking or eating the grass on which the snail has crawled.

Adult nematodes are located in pulmonary arteries and heart.

The disease manifests itself mainly by circulatory and respiratory disorders, such as:

  • rapid breathing,
  • dyspnoea,
  • fainting,
  • exercise intolerance,
  • cough with bloody discharge,
  • bronchial catarrh conditions.

The method of detecting parasites is stool parasitological examination.

The treatment is long-lasting and consists in repeated administration of appropriate anthelmintics.

Cardiac cough in a dog

Kennel cough and its symptoms

Cough in dogs may appear in the event heart failure.

It is a paroxysmal, persistent, dry cough that sometimes causes vomiting.

It most often appears at night and in the morning, making our pooch unable to rest at night.

Additional symptoms are:

  • fatigue faster,
  • losing weight,
  • reluctance to play, walks.

In advanced cases, it may occur periodic fainting and breathlessness.

The reason for these symptoms is accumulation of fluid in the lungs or pressure of the enlarged heart on the trachea and bronchi.

To diagnose heart failure, a complete clinical examination with cardiological examination including auscultation, EKG and the echo of the heart.

Treatment is prescribed by a cardiologist depending on the type of disease and usually lasts for life.

Its aim is not to heal the diseased organ (because it cannot be done), but to reduce the troublesome clinical symptoms and improve the comfort of the dog's life.

Collapsing trachea in a dog

It is an affliction of small breed dogs.

The most common diagnosis is and related tracheal collapse yorkie cough.

Cough in yorkie

It is a genetically determined defect in the structure of the tracheal rings, resulting in a narrowing of the organ's lumen.

The main symptom is dry, sharp cough from the windpipe and choking appearing at the moment of the dog's excitement, greater exertion or pressure in the neck area (eg. as a result of the pressure of the collar).

The consequence may be a collapsed trachea swoon, hypoxia and death.

A photo is required for diagnosis X-ray neck and chest and tracheoscopy (imaging endoscopy of the trachea).

The causal treatment is carried out surgery, however, due to the high cost of the operation, owners most often opt for conservative treatment.

It consists in avoiding strenuous effort and excitement, applying chondroprosthetics, anti-inflammatory drugs and bronchodilators if necessary.

The collar also needs to be replaced with a harness.

Cancer as a Cause of Kennel Cough

The diagnosis of lung cancer is made on the basis of a chest X-ray.

They are rarely primary lung tumors, most of them are secondary lung tumors.

The most common are primary tumors mammary gland cancer.

Clinical symptoms appear when the volume of healthy lung tissue is reduced and the growing tumors put pressure on the vessels, bronchi, or trachea.

At this stage, it is impossible to cure the animal, the treatment comes down to improving the quality of life and monitoring the efficiency of the respiratory system.

Early diagnosis of the primary tumor gives a chance of recovery with surgical removal of the diseased lobe.

My dog ​​is coughing, is that cause for concern?

When should you go to the vet?

Dog coughing can be caused by many different factors. This is always a serious symptom and should not be underestimated.

Untreated kennel cough can lead to death or permanent damage to health.

Before starting treatment, a veterinarian must make a final diagnosis, usually preceded by additional examinations.

These are blood tests, stool tests, heart ultrasound, chest X-ray.

Remember - you should never treat your pet on your own with preparations intended for humans.

On kennel cough home remedies don't work.

Hopefully, after reading this article, you already know how dangerous a dog's cough can be. If you have questions related to kennel cough, add a comment under the article, I will reply to all.

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