Collapsing Trachea in Dogs: The Kennel Cough Cock Up – Kupo’s Story

When Kupo was just six months old, he contracted something that started as a little cough.

Collapsing Trachea in Dogs: The Kennel Cough Cock Up - Kupo's Story

Does Kupo have kennel cough?

Our friends and even the vet told us that it was kennel cough. Therefore, we should just let it run its course, and it would go away naturally within a week or so. We thought this was odd, especially seeing that he had received a shot for this the previous week. Finally, however, we agreed to give it a week, as the vet told us.

Editor’s note: It should take approximately three days for an intranasal and about seven days for the injectable kennel cough vaccine to take effect. Vaccines are for specific infectious agents, so a kennel cough vaccine (bordetella +/- viral components) will not protect against all potential infections. No vaccine is 100% effective, even against the specific infectious agents.

It’s not easy watching your puppy in discomfort. After a week and a half, we brought him to the vet again as the cough worsened.

They told us nothing irregular was happening and gave us some medication (pills). We gave Kupo the pills twice a day, and after another two weeks, the cough was only getting worse.

Now that we had hit the one-month mark, we were distraught.

Collapsing Trachea in Dogs: The Kennel Cough Cock Up - Kupo's Story

At this point, we had done a lot of research on our own on Kennel Cough. We felt that something more severe was happening. We also read those respiratory problems can be more dangerous in puppies and cause permanent damage in some cases.

Could it be a collapsing trachea?

When we returned to the vet, they tried giving us another type of medication. However, we insisted on x-rays. At this stage, we wanted to make sure there was nothing wrong with Kupo’s trachea.

The x-rays were done and revealed nothing of note.

This gave us a temporary relief; it was great to have something positive about this situation. We took the new medication and agreed to give it another two weeks.

After another two weeks, the cough was much worse, and Kupo started to cough up large amounts of phlegm.

We tried several home remedies we had found in our online research, and some remedies such as honey seemed to provide him temporary relief.

Kupo is not improving

However, the cough did not go away and seemed to worsen.

This was the month and a half mark, and we couldn’t stand to see our puppy suffer anymore.

Collapsing Trachea in Dogs: The Kennel Cough Cock Up - Kupo's Story

We brought him back to the vet, and believe it or not, after another “assessment,” they calmly (or carelessly) tried to give us another random medication to “try”!

Furious about the time and money we had spent and the complete lack of results, we decided to seek a second opinion. We googled other local vets in Vancouver and found one close to Grandville Island that had fantastic reviews. Unfortunately, they were also almost twice the price, but at this point, we had spent so much already and just wanted our dog to be healthy again.

The new vet asked for the x-rays that were previously taken and said that they needed to bring their own. At first, we thought that this might be another vet trying to make more $$ from us, but we agreed.

Getting a second opinion

The new X-rays were much clearer, and, to our surprise, it showed a collapse in Kupo’s trachea!

This warranted an actual throat scope, which was done the following day—the throat scope video provided enough evidence and information to recommend medicine to treat the problem directly. We were hesitant to try yet another medication, but we agreed to try it.

Within four days, Kupo’s cough was completely gone!

Our puppy was healthy again, and we couldn’t have been happier. But, looking back at the money and time spent, as well as all of the suffering Kupo had gone through, we felt we should share our experience somehow. This led to the creation of, a simple website sharing our experience, research, and information on Kennel Cough symptoms, treatment, home remedies, and all other information we could find.

The goal of this website was to provide an online resource where people could come and find quality information on kennel cough.

People should know information about how a kennel cough vaccination can commonly cause a dog to contract kennel cough! The Dog Help Network idea was born.

Story by Chris Onyett

Related articles:
Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Coughing

Further reading:
Tracheal Collapse in Dogs

Categories: ConditionsKennel CoughMisdiagnoses

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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