How Dogs Get Kennel Cough: Stress And Crowded Places Might Mean Kennel Cough

For an infectious agent to result in a sick dog, there are two requirements — exposure and failure of the immune system to thwart the infection.

Crowded places provide high probability of exposure. Stress can be one of the circumstances that weaken the immune response.

To learn how stress increases susceptibility to infection, read The Function of Cortisol: What Happens In A Dog’s Body When It Goes Awry?

Thank you, Lexie Smith, for sharing Beagle’s story.

How Dogs Get Kennel Cough: Stress And Crowded Places Might Mean Kennel Cough

Beagle’s story

My husband and I recently took our Beagle to the groomer. I usually groom her myself, but this time I wanted to take her to a good groomer. She came back looking gorgeous.

Three days later, she suddenly passed on her dinner.

If you own a Beagle, you know that Beagles love to eat. So much so that they are very prone to weight gain. When my Beagle wouldn’t eat, I knew something was wrong. She also began making loud noises that sounded like she was choking. So it was time to go to the vet.

The diagnosis

After a thorough examination and tests, the veterinarian informed us that our dog had Kennel Cough.

I thought how could this happen? We just took her to a groomer! We learned that Kennel Cough is very contagious and dogs can get it when places are crowded.

I remembered that the groomer was very crowded that day. 

When I called to let the groomer know that my dog had contracted Kennel Cough, we found out that someone brought their dog infected with the virus to the groomer, that day. This how it can spread. If your dog has Kennel Cough, keep them home and isolated from other dogs.

Kennel Cough

Kennel Cough is easy to catch, but at the same time, it is treatable. Our vet gave us some antibiotics to treat our Beagle. You can ask your vet about vaccinations.

Kennel Cough is generally a combination of a viral (canine parainfluenza) and bacterial (Bordetella) infection. 

It causes inflammation in a dog’s windpipe and voice box. If you have ever had bronchitis than you will understand what this feels like.

Kennel Cough symptoms

Some of the classic symptoms of Kennel Cough include:

  • Persistent hacking cough
  • Sneezing
  • Eye discharge
  • Can develop a fever
  • Nasal discharge

Beagle’s symptoms

In our Beagle’s case, she also coughed up white foamy phlegm.

Our Beagle had a loss of appetite that’s a common sign for this. It took her three weeks to recover, which is very common.

Helping Beagle to beat the infection

During that time, we used a humidifier to give her some relief for her irritated breathing passages. I also remembered how much relief that gave me when I had bronchitis. It really helps to soothe your dog and help them rest easier during recovery.

If you smoke, avoid smoking around your dog at this time. It will irritate their breathing passages. So smoke outside away from your dog.

Be sure to give your dog a quiet restful place to eat and drink. It really helps with recovery. This is what we did for our Beagle.

If you suspect that your dog has Kennel Cough get them treated right away. 

If you wait too long, just like untreated bronchitis, they can lead to pneumonia or other complications. So get them treated right away.

Make sure to isolate your dog from other dogs. It’s very contagious. Our Beagle is now all better, after treatment, and restful recovery area.

Related articles:
Primer on Kennel Cough

Further reading:
Kennel Cough: An In-depth Look

Categories: ConditionsCoughingKennel CoughReal-life Stories

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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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