Kennel cough refers to upper respiratory illness in dogs and is broadly defined. It is extremely common and is usually attributed to a number of infectious viral and bacterial agents. Kennel cough is highly contagious, like the human cold or flu, and most dogs will experience it at least once in their lifetimes, according to the website Pet Education. Fortunately there are a number of inexpensive treatments for relatively mild forms of viral and bacterial kennel cough. For more serious cases, treatment costs are higher. Most animals with kennel cough do not require any treatment.
Symptoms of kennel cough include a dry, hacking cough, nasal discharge and general tiredness, according to the website Vet Info. In mild cases, dogs will still be alert and have an appetite. In more serious cases, symptoms can include: fever, pneumonia, a lack of appetite and even death. If your dog is showing signs of serious illness, you should consult a veterinarian for proper treatment.
Viral kennel cough is commonly caused by the parainfluenza virus, adenovirus and canine distemper, according to Pet Education. Bacterial kennel cough is commonly caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica. For both viral and bacterial kennel cough, dogs will continue to be contagious for up to 14 weeks after symptoms have resolved.
Injected vaccinations provide protection for dogs before they are exposed to the parainfluenza virus, distemper or adenovirus. After four months of age, puppies are typically given a series of two doses of vaccine, typically one month apart. According to Cost Helper, the average cost of vaccinations for kennel cough is £13 to £97 as of 2010, depending on which vaccinations are given and whether they are administered in a veterinarian's office or in a low-cost vaccination clinic.
Injected vaccines and nasal vaccines are both available for the viruses that cause kennel cough. The cost is roughly the same, according to Cost Helper. There is no evidence that one works better than the other, and dog owners are often given a choice of which they prefer.
For kennel cough that is a result of Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria, antibiotics are sometimes used. Many mild infections will resolve without antibiotics, but for more serious infections, or infections that have progressed to pneumonia, antibiotics are necessary. The most commonly prescribed antibiotics for kennel cough are doxycycline and trimethoprim-sulpha, according to the Mar Vista Animal Medical Center. According to Cost Helper, both of these antibiotics cost about £13 for 50 100 mg pills.
Antihistamines and Corticosteroids
Antihistamines and corticosteroids are often prescribed to make dogs with kennel cough more comfortable by reducing their immune reaction to irritants in the respiratory tract, according to Pet Education. Temeril-P is a commonly prescribed combination antihistamine/corticosteroid that typically costs less than £6 for 50 pills.
The cheapest form of treatment is prevention. Keeping your dog away from infected animals will keep him from acquiring kennel cough. Sometimes, this is not possible. If you spend time in a dog training class, or board your dog for periods of time, he is likely to be exposed and should be vaccinated, according to Vet Info.