Canine Tracheobronchitis / Kennel Cough

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Canine Tracheobronchitis / Kennel Cough

Often nicknamed �kennel cough�,  canine tracheobronchitis is an inflammation of the trachea (windpipe) and the smaller air passages leading to the lungs.

A large number of bacteria and viruses have been implicated in causing tracheobronchitis.

In many cases, extenuating factors, such as stress and irritation of the air passages by such things as excess barking, smoke inhalation or inhalation of irritating chemicals, seem to play a role by irritating the tissues lining the air passages.

The irritation and resulting tissue damage, coupled with the invasion of various bacteria and viruses often combine and result in the development of the typical clinical symptoms.

Canine tracheobronchitis is usually highly transmissible from one dog to another because of the viral/bacterial component involved and is often spread by droplets which can easily become airborne.

Fortunately, it does not usually affect humans.

Symptoms Of Canine Tracheobronchitis:

Your dog may show no signs of illness except a harsh, deep cough. Often, the cough is described as a “honking” a cough and can give the impression that your dog has something caught in his/her throat.

Often gagging or vomiting mucus from the throat is also seen.

The disease can come on suddenly without warning or it can be secondary to irritation/injury of the respiratory tract.

Tracheobronchitis occurs many times after a dog has been kenneled for a few days. This may occur because many dogs do a lot of barking when kenneled, which irritates the throat, making your dog more susceptible to developing tracheobronchitis. As a result, tracheobronchitis is common during or after a kennel stay, which leads to the common name of �a kennel cough�.

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Diagnosis Of Canine Tracheobronchitis:

Diagnosis involves a physical examination.

Your dog’s veterinarian may also need to do some blood tests to rule out other diseases causing similar symptoms.

Radiographs (x-rays) of your dog’s chest may be necessary as well.

Sometimes, especially in long-lasting cases of tracheobronchitis, a procedure called a tracheal wash may be necessary.  This procedure allows for the collection of cells and other materials from within the air passages which can be then examined microscopically, aiding in diagnosis.

Treatment Of Canine Tracheobronchitis:

With treatment, recovery is usually complete.

Medications may be needed for several weeks and may include antibiotics to prevent secondary bacterial infection.

Cough suppressants may be indicated if a cough is severe.

Complete recovery often takes up to six weeks!

Prevention Of Canine Tracheobronchitis:

Bordetella bronchiseptica is a highly contagious bacteria that is one of the major causes of canine tracheobronchitis.  Even though vaccination against Bordetella is no guarantee that tracheobronchitis will not develop, it does help.  Vaccinated dogs contracting �kennel cough� tend to have milder symptoms and recover much more quickly than those which are not vaccinated.  For this reason, many dogs introduced to boarding or kenneling situations are required to receive vaccinations against Bordetella.

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