If you're about to welcome a new canine companion into your home that you'll be adopting from a local animal shelter, you probably already know that your new furry friend may come with some undiagnosed health conditions. Fortunately, most pets are thoroughly checked for major diseases and signs of serious injury before being adopted out. However, it can be fairly easy for conditions such as kennel cough to slip through the cracks. For instance, kennel cough has an incubation period of up to 14 days, and there's no clinical test for it. Your new friend could seem perfectly healthy when you pick it up from the shelter yet start coughing several days later. Here's what you need to know about kennel cough.
1. Kennel Cough is Not a Specific Condition
Otherwise known as acute infectious tracheobronchitis, kennel cough is an upper respiratory infection occurring in dogs that has a variety of possible causes. It can be caused by either bacteria or viral agents. The reason this group of ailments is commonly referred to as kennel cough is that they're likely to develop in dogs spending time in close proximity with other dogs, such as a kennel. Dogs in shelter environments are particularly prone to kennel cough, especially shelters with a high rate of dogs coming in and out.
2. Kennel Cough Comes on Suddenly
Kennel cough usually comes on suddenly, and for this reason, many pet owners think the dog may be choking on something — and it's very important to rule that out. Dogs suffering from kennel cough make a honking sound when they cough, but they don't have a lot of difficulty breathing unless the case is severe. If your dog can't breathe and you think it may be choking, you should take it to an ER vet clinic.
3. Kennel Cough Requires Veterinary Treatment
In some cases, kennel cough may go away on its own, but this approach has the potential to cause the animal to experience needless suffering. A round of antibiotics may be all that's necessary to clear up the condition within several days to a week. If you suspect that your new dog has a case of kennel cough, don't hesitate to make an appointment with the vet as soon as possible.
However, if the coughing is severe and seems to be getting worse, don't wait for an appointment — take your pet to the nearest ER veterinary clinic immediately, especially if your dog is older or has been ill. Immunocompromised dogs are far more likely to have serious complications from kennel cough than their younger, healthier counterparts.
To learn more, speak to companies like Animal Emergency Clinic today.