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Hack-Wheeze-HONK! Protect Dogs from Holiday Kennel Cough

Hack-Wheeze-HONK! Protect Dogs from Holiday Kennel Cough

Coughing dogs are no fun for you, or your dog. With holidays near, many dogs may spend time away from home being boarded. That can expose your furry friend to kennel cough. Learn how to protect your dog, by understanding more about kennel cough, a very contagious disease.

For more information about cat colds and dog coughs, see this post.

kennel cough

I’m sharing this hacking entry about CANINE KENNEL COUGH which is an excerpt from Dog Facts, The Series 11 (Chapter K). This chapter covers a lot of ground, and here’s the topic list:

Kennel Cough, Keratitis, Kidney Disease, Kneecap Slipping, and Knee Injury.

I’ve broken the massive book into discounted treat-size alpha-chapter sections available ONLY to subscribers of my PETS PEEVES NEWSLETTER. Folks can choose which ones they most need. Each chapter will release every other week. Of course, you can still get the entire DOG FACTS book either in Kindle or 630+ pages of print.

WHAT IS CANINE KENNEL COUGH?

Canine infectious tracheobronchitis, generically referred to as kennel cough, is a highly contagious and common condition affecting dogs. The disease causes an inflammation of the dog’s larynx, trachea, and bronchi (tubes leading to the lungs).

All dogs are susceptible, but the disease is most common in dogs exposed to crowded conditions, such as kennels (hence, the name), shows, or other stressful conditions. Most cases cause only mild disease with signs that tend to be more aggravating to owners than dangerous to the dog. But kennel cough in puppies can cause stunted lung development, and/or develop into life-threatening pneumonia.

WHAT CAUSES KENNEL COUGH?

The disease can be caused by any one or combination of several different infectious agents. The most common culprits are bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica, the canine parainfluenza virus, and the canine adenovirus-2 (CAV-2). These agents attach themselves to the delicate hair-like cilia in the dog’s trachea, or actually cause the removal of the cilia. Cilia normally protect the tracheobronchial tract by clearing away irritants like bacteria and other microorganisms with wave-like motions similar to wind moving a grassy field. When they are destroyed, or the agent can’t be dislodged from remaining cilia–the protective mechanism breaks down, resulting in further irritation to the dog’s respiratory tract.

DIAGNOSING OF THE DISEASE

The typical sign of kennel cough is, in fact, a chronic high-pitched honking cough. It can easily be prompted by excitement, drinking, or gentle pressure applied to the base of the dog’s neck. The dog tugging at his leash may result in a paroxysm. Rarely there is also a nasal or eye discharge, and dogs may suffer a slight fever or loss of appetite. The signs can last from a few days to several weeks.

Infection spreads through the saliva and nasal secretions, and may occur by direct nose-to-nose contact. However, coughing also transmits the agents through the air from one dog to another. Signs develop four to six days following exposure.

Diagnosis is based on the dog’s recent history and clinical signs. Because the disease results in a vicious cycle of irritation causing the cough, and cough causing further irritation, cough suppressants to relieve persistent coughing are very important.

Puppy with fur cap with ear flaps and a scarf

TREATING KENNEL COUGH

Holistic veterinarians may recommend herbal remedies to help soothe the discomfort and speed recovery. A Chinese herbal liquid called loquat is very sweet, and dogs may lick this willingly off the spoon. Ask your vet about the dosage. You can also make your own remedy by combining lemon and honey. Mix two tablespoons of honey and a teaspoon of lemon juice in one-half cup of water and give to the dog a couple of times a day. For congestion, the herb mullein is available in capsule form and helps break up congestion that may accompany kennel cough.

Antibiotics may be required when bacterial infections are involved. Anti-inflammatory drugs and bronchodilators that open breathing passages to help the dog breathe may also be prescribed.

CAN KENNEL COUGH BE PREVENTED?

Preventative vaccinations are available. However, protecting a dog from kennel cough is complicated by the fact that many different infectious agents may be involved. Some vaccinations are given by injection, while others are given as drops in the nose to stimulate a local immunity in the nasal passages. However, local immunity is relatively short-lived and may only protect the dog for six months or so.

Dogs at high risk may benefit from annual or oftener vaccinations. These vaccinations may be given alone or in combination, and are often recommended when you anticipate your dog will be placed at risk for exposure, such as boarding at a kennel over the holidays.

Will your dog be exposed to kennel cough this year? If visiting a kennel or dog park, check with your veterinarian about keeping your pet safe!

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I recommend nothing unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

 

Getting Ticked Off About Ehrlichiosis

Ehrlichiosis (pronounced “err-lick-iosis”) goes by many names, but no matter what you call it, this devastating dog disease can wreak havoc on your pet.

ehrlichiosis ticks and hunting dogs

Hunting dogs exposed to ticks are at higher risk for tick borne diseases like ehrlichiosis.

I’m sharing this entry about EHRLICHIOSIS, an excerpt from Dog Facts, The Series 5 (Chapter E). This chapter covers a lot of ground, and here’s the topic list:

Ear, Ear Mites, Eating, Eclampsia, Ectropion/Entropion, Ehrlichiosis, Electrical Shock, Elizabethan Collar, Endoscope, Enteritis, Epilepsy, Euthanasia, and Eyes.

I’ve broken the massive book into discounted treat-size alpha-chapter sections available ONLY to subscribers of my PETS PEEVES NEWSLETTER. Folks can choose which ones they most need. Each chapter will release every other week. Of course, you can still get the entire DOG FACTS book either in Kindle or 630+ pages of print.

WHAT IS CANINE EHRLICHIOSIS?

Canine ehrlichiosis is caused by one or several species of Ehrlichia bacteria, most commonly Ehrlichia canis (E. canis) or Ehrlichia lewinii (E. lewinii). This specialized bacteria requires an intermediate host, or vector, to infect its victim. The brown dog tick and the Lone Star tick are the primary vectors.

The disease has been reported worldwide wherever these ticks are found. Most cases in the United States occur in dogs living in the Texas Gulf coast regions and other southern states. All dogs are susceptible, but those with greater exposure to ticks. Outdoor dogs, working dogs and hunting dogs are at highest risk. Doberman Pinschers and German Shepherds seem to be more severely affected. Ehrlichiosis is diagnosed most often during the warm months of tick season.

Ticks attach themselves and may be hidden by fur.

Ticks attach themselves and may be hidden by fur.

HOW DO DOGS GET EHRLICHIOSIS?

The tick becomes infected when it bites an exposed dog and ingests infected blood. The tick may transmit the disease for up to five months after engorgement with infected blood. Once infected, transmission of the disease to dogs can occur in any stage (by larva, nymph, or adult tick). It is even possible for ticks to survive winter months and infect susceptible dogs in the spring.

The organism is passed to dogs in the tick saliva when the infected parasite takes a blood meal. Blood transfusion from an infected donor dog also has the potential to transmit the disease. E. canis initially invades and damages the white blood cells of the host dog. From there, the rickettsiae spread via the blood to lymphatic tissue including the liver, lymph nodes and spleen.

WHAT SYMPTOMS DOES EHRLICHIOSIS CAUSE?

Signs of the disease can vary greatly from case to case. That makes canine ehrlichiosis an extremely frustrating disease to diagnose. Dogs suffering stress are also more susceptible.

There are both acute and chronic stages of the disease. Dogs suffering from the acute phase exhibit sudden severe symptoms, or show few or no signs at all. Signs include:

  • a week-long fever
  • eye and nasal discharge
  • loss of appetite, depression
  • swollen legs
  • stiffness and reluctance to walk
  • weight loss
  • neurologic symptoms such as muscle twitches

X-rays may reveal signs of pneumonia. The acute stage lasts two to four weeks; dogs either recover, or proceed to the chronic phase of disease.

The chronic stage of the disease can last for several months, and appears to affect dogs with suppressed immune systems. The bone marrow is compromised, resulting in a reduction in the production of blood cells. Often, the dog will develop kidney disease. Low platelet counts may cause bleeding tendencies, and long nosed breeds like shepherds may suffer nose bleeds. Fatigue, bloody urine, discoloration and bruising of the skin occur in all breeds.

HOW IS EHRLICHIOSIS DIAGNOSED?

Diagnosis is based on signs of disease along with history of tick exposure. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, which isolates the DNA of the causative agent, is now commonly employed for confirmation. The PCR test, in combination with a test for antibodies to the Ehrlichia infection, is typically the best way to make a concrete diagnosis.

WHAT TREATMENT IS RECOMMENDED?

The antibiotic doxycycline is effective against E. canis when administered early in the course of the disease. Dogs may require six weeks or more of treatment before being cured, and some may benefit from fluid therapy or blood transfusions. Infection does not impart immunity and dogs can be reinfected. Dogs with chronic disease in which bone marrow is irreparably damaged may require months of therapy before any improvement is apparent, but prognosis is not good and often th
e dog dies despite treatment.

CAN YOU PREVENT EHRLICHIOSIS?

There is no vaccination available to prevent canine ehrlichiosis. The best way to protect dogs is to reduce or prevent exposure to ticks. In high-risk environments (i.e., kennel situations where the disease has been diagnosed), your vet may recommend a daily low-dose of antibiotic used as a preventative.

Ticks hate bright sunlight so keeping yards and fields mowed short, and limiting your dog’s ranging can help. Ticks carry many other kinds of “nasties” so using a vet-approved tick preventive in endemic areas may be recommended.

Learn about tick prevention in this post about Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Does your dog get ticks? Are you using tick treatment to protect him? Has your dog ever suffered from a tick-borne disease? Please share your tips and tricks so others can help keep their dogs safe.


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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!