Is your dog coughing or hacking? He may have kennel cough or canine infectious tracheobronchitis. Although kennel cough can sound terrible, and make dogs and their owners lose sleep, most dogs will recover with treatment.
Kennel cough can have multiple causes. A bacterium called Bordetella bronchiseptica is commonly the causal agent which is why kennel cough is often called Bordetella. Most dogs that become infected with Bordetella can also have a virus at the same time. Dogs become ill with kennel cough when they inhale these bacteria or virus particles into their respiratory system. The result of this can cause inflammation of the upper airways resulting in the cough response, often sounding like a goose honk. Other symptoms can include ocular (eye) and nasal discharge as well as sneezing.
Although many cases of kennel cough can resolve without treatment, medications are an option that may minimize symptoms during infection. These can include antibiotics that target the suspected bacteria as well as cough medicines. Since kennel cough is highly contagious, you should keep them away from other animals.
There are many reasons that dogs may cough; some are more concerning than others. For this reason, it is essential to have your coughing dog examined by your veterinarian so he can receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.