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If your beloved dog is experiencing a hacking cough, a runny nose, and weeping eyes, there is a very good chance he has contracted kennel cough. There is no reason to be unduly worried, because kennel cough is the canine equivalent of the common cold. It is an upper respiratory infection caused by a virus and certain bacteria, and most dogs will come down with kennel cough at one time or another. Luckily, this malady is easily cured with either antibiotics or homeopathic kennel cough remedies.
As is true with people, a virus of this sort will usually run its course in one to three weeks. Most people, however, prefer to alleviate their pet’s suffering as quickly as possible. Also, it is a good idea to check with a veterinarian, as kennel cough has the potential to progress into pneumonia. The best kennel cough remedies center around prevention, and a vaccine is available and recommended. This vaccine combats the bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria – most vets refer to it as a bordetella shot – and very few kennels will board a dog unless proof of vaccination is provided.
Should a pet owner prefer to avoid the antibiotic route, traditional kennel cough remedies are very similar to those suggested for children with a cold. Keep the pet warm, quiet, and away from drafty doors or windows. It is also a good idea to remove the collars, as they can further irritate the throat. Another of the many remedies for kennel cough is to encourage the animal to drink lots of water. Running a vaporizer, or turning on a hot shower and allowing the animal to breathe the steam, can also provide relief.
Most commercial kennel cough remedies are geared toward improving a dog’s immune system. Echinacea, of the same sort taken by humans, is also supposed to boost the immune system. It should be noted that, despite conventional wisdom, clinical, blind-trials involving echinacea have shown that it has little to no effect in reducing the effects of either colds or kennel cough.
Kennel cough is highly contagious, and receives its name since most pets do tend to pick it up while boarding in a kennel. One reason that a trip to the vet is suggested is because, while most kennel cough is brought on by the bordetlla bacteria, it can also be caused by canine parainfluenza or canine adenovirus. The former of these is the same virus that causes distemper in dogs. The last reason for aggressive treatment is because kennel cough is easily transmitted to humans.