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Canine Kennel Cough Treatment

by Jake Dwyer
(Sanur, Bali, Indonesia)

Reader Question: How Can I Treat A Dog With Kennel Cough?


Hi there. I live in Bali, Indonesia. I have several dogs suffering from kennel cough and the difficult thing is that they keep passing it among themselves and I am having the worst time trying to stop it. It's been ongoing since December 2011 and now it is March 2012.

I have spent so much money on vet bills, but no treatment seems to be effective. Because of the language barrier and cultural differences it is hard to communicate effectively with the vets- I have tried 3 now, and some of their recommendations sound more like they come from Indonesian folklore than science.

I really need any help at all to help end this so any suggestions to help me end this terrible infection. The problem is that I have no way to separate the dogs so that they never are in contact with each other, so I have no way to keep infected dogs away from those not infected. What more can I do?

Jake Dwyer

Vet Suggestions for Treating Kennel Cough in Dog

Hi Jake,

The bacteria and viruses that cause kennel cough (at least those that we normally see in North America) are certainly very contagious and could be passed around your pack of dogs over several months in the way that you describe. Since you have not isolated them up to now, I think it is safe to assume that they have all been exposed and isolation from here on out won’t do you much good (unless a new germ gets introduced into the mix).

Have any diagnostic tests been run to determine whether the cause of your dogs’ respiratory problems is viral or bacterial or something else entirely? If there is a bacterial component (either as the primary infection or secondarily to a viral infection), antibiotics could certainly help. Treatment for viral infections is generally symptomatic and supportive while you wait for the condition to run its course.

It can take several weeks to months for a dog’s symptoms to completely resolve after an especially severe bout with kennel cough. If everyone is still eating, happy, and active, you might just have to give them more time. However, if any of the dogs is having difficulty breathing or acting sicker than you’d expect with the doggy equivalent of a cold, you’ll need to get them in for a re-check.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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Aug 06, 2012
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Thank you
by: Jake

Thank you for your information, I greatly appreciate it. I didn't realize that here in Indonesia they don't include bordetella vaccinations in with the rest of the vaccinations. My local vet treated their coughing symptoms and as soon as they recovered from the cough I had them vaccinated. It took several weeks, but eventually I was able to bring it under control. However now whenever I hear the slightest cough I worry. But so far so good. Thanks again for the information, I will definitely keep it for future reference.

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