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Kennel cough is a contagious, bacterial disease of dogs, characterized by coughing and is similar to a chest cold for dogs. Kennel cough is so named because it is often acquired when your dog is in contact with other dogs in a kennel setting, although it can be acquired anywhere your dog has contact with other infected dogs. The technical name is tracheobronchitis, and it is caused by the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria.
Most dogs that come down with the infectious bacterial disease, kennel cough, also have a virus present, or are experiencing stress at the time of infection, otherwise, the bacteria may be present without illness manifesting. Although complications can result, most cases are not serious and resolve on their own.
As a pet owner you can provide supportive care by:
In addition, pet owners can stimulate their dog’s immune system to aid in kennel cough recovery. A variety of homeopathic remedies are available with antiviral properties and to stimulate the immune system, including:
Many of these substances can be administered by sprinkling on your dog's food or by introduction orally with a syringe.
Supportive care with natural treatments can help lessen your dog's symptoms and the duration of illness. Because your dog is contagious during the infection, precautions to ensure they do not expose other dogs to the illness should be taken. Because the upper respiratory tract is affected by a contagious bacteria, and can be serious in some cases, it is important to monitor carefully and seek veterinary advice to rule out other causes of illness and ensure that if complications manifest appropriate veterinary treatment is obtained.
With treatment, dogs commonly recover from kennel cough within a few weeks, though a dog’s overall condition and the method of treatment used may affect overall recovery time. As natural treatment methods are generally in the form of supplements or supportive care, there is no specific recovery time associated with the administration of these therapies.
The cost of of natural treatment for kennel cough will depend on the type and source of any supplements, remedies, and supplies that are used. Many supplements and homeopathic remedies can be purchased for less than $30. A visit to your vet for a physical examination and related testing could cost $50 to $150.
You should consult a holistic veterinary practitioner for appropriate usage and dosage of homeopathic treatments and essential oils, as correct usage is important. Even natural remedies can be harmful if not administered appropriately. Some plant-derived, natural medications which are useful for humans can be toxic to dogs so always ensure the natural treatment you are administering is safe for dogs prior to use.
Kennel cough can be difficult to prevent, as the condition can be caused by a number of bacterial or viral infections. Though a vaccine for bordetella is commonly used to prevent kennel cough, it is not effective against all possible causes. The most effective means of prevention may be to avoid contact with other dogs, which is unrealistic for most pet owners.
Thankfully, although the symptoms of kennel cough can be alarming, it is usually not a serious disease and will resolve on its own with good supportive care. You can reduce your dog's symptoms and discomfort with a variety of methods to ease upper respiratory irritation such as cough medicines and humidity. Immune system support may also help to reduce the intensity of the infection and the duration. Many natural substances available in your home or commercially can help provide immune system support to your dog. Remember, if symptoms become severe or your dog loses their appetite or becomes lethargic you should seek veterinary care as antibiotics may be necessary, or another illness may be present, requiring veterinary treatment.
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