Highly contagious respiratory infection
Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory infection that affects dogs. It’s caused by various viruses and bacteria such as the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria and the canine parainfluenza virus. Kennel cough is characterized by a persistent cough, hacking, and gagging sounds, lethargy, and discharge from the eyes and nose.
Kennel cough is also known as infectious tracheobronchitis because it’s transmitted through the air. When an infected dog coughs or sneezes, droplets containing the bacteria or virus are released into the air, and when another dog breathes in these droplets, they become infected.
Kennel cough is common in dogs that spend time in kennels, dog parks, and other crowded places where dogs are in close proximity to each other. However, even dogs that rarely leave the house can contract kennel cough.
Antibiotics are usually prescribed for kennel cough, but many pet owners wonder how long their dog will remain contagious after starting medication. This article will answer that question and provide other essential information on kennel cough.
How Antibiotics Treat Kennel Cough
Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, but they don’t work against viruses. Kennel cough is caused by both viruses and bacteria, which means that antibiotics are only effective if bacterial infection is present.
Bordetella bronchiseptica is the most common bacterial cause of kennel cough, and it’s treatable with antibiotics such as doxycycline, amoxicillin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. These drugs target the bacteria, reduce inflammation, and help your dog recover faster.
Antibiotics don’t cure kennel cough, but they reduce the severity of symptoms and prevent the infection from spreading to other dogs. The goal of antibiotic treatment is to shorten the duration of kennel cough, improve the dog’s quality of life, and reduce the risk of complications such as pneumonia.
How Long is Kennel Cough Contagious After Starting Antibiotics?
Antibiotics don’t cure kennel cough immediately, and they don’t make your dog non-contagious right away. Your dog can still spread the infection to other dogs for some time after starting antibiotics, depending on various factors.
The duration of kennel cough contagion after starting antibiotics depends on:
1. The type of bacteria or virus causing the infection
2. The severity of the infection
3. The duration of symptoms before starting antibiotics
4. The dog’s immune system
In general, dogs with kennel cough are contagious for two weeks after coughing starts, but the contagious period can last longer in some cases. Antibiotics can reduce the contagious period, but they don’t eliminate it entirely.
Dogs can remain contagious for up to five days after starting antibiotics, depending on the bacterial or viral cause of the infection. Dogs infected with Bordetella bronchiseptica can remain contagious for up to ten days after starting antibiotics, while dogs infected with canine parainfluenza virus can remain contagious for up to six days.
It’s important to note that kennel cough can have multiple bacterial and viral causes, and your dog may have more than one type of infection. In such cases, the contagious period may be longer.
To reduce the risk of spreading kennel cough to other dogs, pet owners can take the following precautions:
1. Isolate the dog – keep the infected dog away from other dogs until they are no longer contagious
2. Maintain good hygiene – clean and disinfect shared items such as bowls, bedding, and toys frequently
3. Practice good respiratory etiquette – cover the dog’s mouth and muzzle when they cough or sneeze to reduce airborne droplets
4. Avoid crowded places – keep the dog away from crowded places such as kennels and dog parks until they are non-contagious
It’s also essential to complete the entire course of antibiotics, even if the dog’s symptoms improve before completing the treatment. This ensures that all bacteria are eradicated, reducing the risk of the infection recurring.
Possible Complications of Kennel Cough
Kennel cough is usually a mild respiratory infection that resolves on its own or with antibiotic treatment. However, in some cases, it can lead to complications such as pneumonia, which is an inflammation of the lungs.
Pneumonia is a serious condition that can cause breathing difficulties, lethargy, fever, and loss of appetite. It’s more common in dogs with weakened immune systems, young puppies, and older dogs.
If your dog develops pneumonia, they may require hospitalization, oxygen therapy, and intravenous fluids. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition, and it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately if you suspect your dog has pneumonia.
commonly prescribed for kennel cough
Antibiotics are commonly prescribed for kennel cough, and they can reduce the duration and severity of symptoms. However, they don’t eliminate the contagiousness of the infection immediately. Dogs with kennel cough can remain contagious for up to five days after starting antibiotics, depending on various factors.
It’s essential to complete the entire course of antibiotics and practice good hygiene to reduce the risk of spreading kennel cough to other dogs. If your dog develops complications such as pneumonia, seek veterinary care as soon as possible. With proper care and treatment, most dogs recover fully from kennel cough and return to their normal activities.