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Kennel Cough

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It appears that Teak, foster girl at my house, has the beginnings of kennel cough. :rolleyes: In general I always have said I wouldn't treat KC with anything but rest, good food, and lots of fluids, but I also know our shelter vet routinely gives antibiotics to clear any secondary infections up before they take hold.

 

Any thoughts on the best course of action? I'm leaning toward a "wait and see" approach and then if she worsens much, taking her in for the meds.

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If they are coughing a lot, lethargic, coughing up a lot of mucus, and not eating well (basically, they are feeling pretty crappy), I give antibiotics. If it's pretty mild - they are still eating well, have plenty of energy, but just coughing when they first get up or run around or put pressure on their throat - I usually let it run it's course. With a mild case of KC, the dog usually feels pretty normal; they just have that pesky cough. With a more severe case, you can tell that the dog is not feeling well. I wouldn't hesitate to give antibiotics then.

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I would bet that dogs in a shelter situation are more susceptible to secondary infections (lowered immunity due to stress) than your new foster will be in your home environment. Like Mary said, I think I'd hold off on abx unless the kennel cough infection is pretty bad.

 

J.

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Shelter dogs are subject to secondary infection due to exposure and stress. Treating the prophylactically is sometimes necessary to prevent complications that would mean euthansia (i.e. a dog with pneumonia in a shelter is not going to vet icu due to lack of funds)

 

Otherwise in my experience there is no reason to give antibiotics to a normal healthy dog unless the there is fever or labwork indicating a bacterial infection. Antibiotics will do nothing for general lethargy, cough, and not wanting to eat. If anything they will add additional side effects - upset stomach, drug specific side effects.

 

Low grade fever can indicate dehydration - if the dog isn't drinking then the sensible choice is to hydrate first (we do sub q- but your vet will do it if you don't have the training), then make up their mind after that.

 

Overuse of antibiotics is creating a serious mess for humans and animals alike. They should never be used without clear indication and need. Bacterial resistance to drugs is rising, and every use without reason puts a nail in the coffin of that's drugs future usefullness.

 

My vet also has us give 10,000 iu of fish based Vitamin A per each 10 lbs of dog once daily for 3 days of exposure or active illness. Talk you own vet before you decide if this is right for your dog. You can read up on the uses of Vit A to help with immune response on the net - be aware that you can give to much!

 

We have had great success using homeopathic medicines for kennel cough. My vet specializes in that, and over the years we've got it pretty much down. Typically we also fast the dog (food almost always makes the coughing worse), and do fluids as directed/needed. Treated as we do, the typical case lasts anywhere from 4 to 48 hours. Local dogs with the same strain, treated in other ways, are typically sick for at least a week or longer.

 

Hope Teak feels better soon.

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What I do depends on the dog. Sara never had anything more than a mild cough so no meds. My late Meg would run a fever, have a very runny nose, watering eyes, a severe cough and still sound congested - she got antibiotics and usually had to have two courses of them before everything cleared up. Since she ultimately died of lung cancer, I've always wondered if she had a predisposition to react badly to URI's (not to imply that all dogs w/serious KC are prone to cancer or anything like that). My late cocker, Cassie, would just have a mild case of the sniffles and a cough and I didn't medicate her. None of my other dogs have ever showed any symptoms of KC.

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it's a tough one. I've seen every type of kennel cough and some are very mild and dont require antibiotics. The ones that are tough is when they stop eating. Their neck seems to become stiff like they cant put it down to eat. Eventually they will stop drinking. I usually start an antibiotic when they show an unwilingness to eat. I use honey for coughing and I use dyne if they seem pretty punky like they arnet consuming enough cals. It usually encourages drinking of water.

 

There doesnt seem to be a complete agreement in what meds to use. There is nothing I hate worse than KC. :rolleyes:

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There seems to be a strain of KC going around the northeast right now. All of my dogs got it last month. They sounded terrible, they all had that loud, frequent dry hacking cough. They were slowly but steadily getting better (they still have a residual cough). They continued to eat, play and look bright. Then one dog suddenly took a turn for the worse and did develop pneumonia. His cough became wet and more frequent and he was generally feeling poorly, not eating, lethargic. He got antibiotics, but my other dogs did not. The dog who got pneumonia does not get exposed to other dogs very often. He sees some other BCs when he goes to work sheep on friends' farms but is otherwise a bit of a shut in (this is the dog who has been attacked twice by bully breed dogs). I suspect that as a result of being "sheltered" his immune system is not as experienced.

 

I have owned, fostered and worked with countless dogs with KC. In the vast majority of cases antibiotics are not required. In fact, Sage is the first dog I have owned or fostered who needed them. I would not prescribe antibiotics to your dog unless I thought it really needed them or had pneumonia. Antibiotic resistance is a real and very worrying problem. Veterinarians and MDs are painting themselves into a corner by handing out certain drugs like candy. Farmers are doing it as well by over using drugs like dewormers.

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The cough hasn't progressed at all today, so we'll def be doing the conservative route for now. She's only coughing with pressure on her neck currently. :rolleyes: Thanks so much for all the input!

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It's really not that bad. There are so many worst things to have to deal with.

 

 

I think of it as my work equiv. Diabetes. Since it's airborne I do everything to keep it at bay. everyone is vax'd. I'll turn around and someone is coughing. That lovely hair ball sound. If my retired vet is right he says there are about 14 known strains and the vax only does 2.

 

My home dogs have never gotten it. They have been vax'd and have been exposed a bunch of times. Some house dogs at the rescue dont get it. As a nurse I guess it bugs me because it's hard to figure.

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Stress will induce it for sure - my girls aren't vax'd and I'm not worried about it; I'm sure I bring it home on my clothes all the time given where I work. I am thinking of putting Teak on some DMG I have for Pi as it's a good immune booster and easy to give.

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When Blaze was vaccinated for KC, he developed an immune problem shortly afterward. After paying for a week at Michigan State's vet clinic intensive care unit, we no longer do bordatella vacs. So far, only Bryte has contracted KC and that was at an agility trial from a dog who's owner knew he had it! GRRRRR!

Barb S

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It's an ez fix. Got get all your dogs with a bordello shot- no worries. You'll be fine. Keep us informed.

P.S. some are nasal.

Edited by Bo Peep

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Ok guys, this is a very good thread for me. I haven't had to deal with KC for over 10 years. At that time I remember treating everyone with ab's. I guess you could say we all live a sheltered life except for traveling to sheep and family so our expousure is low.

But I sure didn't know it was not an infection that needed ab's to go away. I should have been albe to put 2 and 2 together but never had a reason to think about it.

Thanks for all the valuable information. I now know what to do if we get hit.

BTW I don't vac. for KC. used to but I did know there were different strains and the first time we got it they were vac. so I choose not to do it anymore.

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I never give any of my dogs or foster dogs the bordetella vax. It's a waste of money, an unnecessary vax, and won't protect them against all strains anyway. Nearly every dog that I get from a shelter has KC. My dogs are exposed to it all the time and have never caught it from a foster dog. My dogs did get canine flu once, but that didn't come from a foster dog. It went around the doggy daycare that two of my three dogs go to. They brought it home and passed it around to everyone else, including the previously healthy foster dogs. A few days of coughing and they were all back to normal. No big deal.

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BoPeep that is not true There are many, many strains of kennel cough and the vaccine does nothing for most of them. And those only offer a few months of protection.

 

The last run in this region all dogs under 3 got sick - vaccinated or not - and those healthy and over 3 -vaccinated or not - did not. It's the dog version of the common cold.

 

 

 

 

 

It's an ez fix. Got get all your dogs with a bordello shot- no worries. You'll be fine. Keep us informed.

P.S. some are nasal.

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Personally I think vaccinating for kennel cough is a waste of time. It really irks me when a practice requires the vaccine before you can leave a dog off for the day for surgery or similar. As if a vaccine given the day of is going to protect the dog from anything it's exposed to that day....

 

Antibioitics should never be a treatment of choice for any viral infection. As others have said, the only time it makes sense to use abx is if a secondary bacterial infection arises. Otherwise you're just wasing money and increasing the risk of developing additional abx-resistant strains of bacteria.

 

J.

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It's an ez fix. Got get all your dogs with a bordello shot- no worries. You'll be fine. Keep us informed.

P.S. some are nasal.

Not always true. See my post from above!

Barb S

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Sorry guys- that's what we used to do @ the humane society. My skills must be lacking. I apologize.

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Thanks for starting this thread... it appears the little guy we picked up on Friday has Kennel Cough. He does not eat or drink on his own accord. Poor little Charlie, I have been force feeding him food and water. I have been putting baby food on his nose to get him to eat something (he will lick it off and swallow it but won't eat otherwise) and I got a little rice in him yesterday. He has been coughing up almost everything I get in him and just in the last hour his nose has gotten very "boogery." :rolleyes: Poor little guy, we will be off to the vet tomorrow. Anyone have any ideas on how I can get some liquids in him? His gums still look pink, so he is not yet dehydrated, but I feel bad torementing him with food and water.

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Have you tried meat broth to get liquids in? Maybe after some time in a steamy bathroom (like after a hot shower) to destuff his nose a bit?

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We have tried broth, and he will not drink it. I will bring him into the bathroom when i take a shower later to de-stuff his nose. That is a great idea!

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See if he'll eat an ice cube, maybe smash it a little first. Shonie loves them, and Buzz would eat ice shards right after chemo when he wouldn't eat anything else.

 

Hope he feels better soon, poor thing.

 

Ruth

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you may try a bit of peppermint oil in the shower too to help destuff his little nose. we use it in the sick room at work and it seems to help the cat's noses destuff. I'd add just a few drops to a cotton ball or rag and leave it in the steamy room.

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The gums being pink don't indicate hydration status, they indicated oxygenated blood. The first sign of dehydration is sticky gums. The shower idea is excellent, as is the broth (low sodium!) idea. Warm broth smells better so may be more enticing. You can also make a slurry out of water and canned dog food. Just be aware that most baby food contains a lot of salt and many brands contain onion and/or garlic powder.

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