Saturday, 28 June 2008

kennel cough and vomiting - it's been a dog's life this week

Penny has been coughing recently. Because she’s our first dog, we are learning as we go and it wasn’t until Jabari’s mum commented that it sounded like kennel cough that we even considered this disease. Penny’s never been to a kennel and in my naivety I thought you couldn’t get it anywhere else. (The power of names to influence our thinking!) Also, her vaccinations are up-to-date and I believed they included kennel cough. We wanted to take her to the vet but the cough is seemingly random and occasional, so we thought there wouldn’t be anything for the vet to observe. (As you can see, we are definitely beginners at dog ownership!)

I rang the vet and the nurse told me that even if dogs are vaccinated against this disease, they can still get it; however, it should be a milder form. I decided to have a look around the Net to see what I could find out. One of the most interesting pieces of information was that there are video clips of dogs with kennel cough on YouTube. When we listened to this one, we thought it sounded similar to Penny’s cough.

Next I thought I would visit the Merck Veterinary Manual. It said:
Spasms of coughing are the outstanding sign. These are most severe after rest or a change of environment or at the beginning of exercise.
This is exactly the situation in which Jabari’s mum noticed Penny coughing. It was as Penny rushed from the car to join Jabari in the park. We’ve also noticed that she coughs when she gets up after resting on her mat.
The Manual also said:
The acute stage of bronchitis passes in 2-3 days; the cough, however, may persist for 2-3 wk.
I also found some relevant information at a site called all doctors. They said the name kennel cough is misleading as it can be caught at any gathering of dogs. It’s caused by a combination of a bacterium and a virus. Dogs with this disease often finish their coughing with gagging or retching and produce frothy phlegm. It can persist for several weeks and sneezing is common. says dogs will usually recover from this disease without treatment but a visit to the vet is recommended because a cough might be a symptom of another disease entirely. The cough sounds as if the dog needs to "clear its throat" and will be triggered by any extra activity or exercise. In many dogs the general state of health and alertness will be unaffected, and there might be no rise in temperature, or loss of appetite. The symptoms may last from 7 to 21 days but it’s rarely life threatening. It goes on to say that sometimes cough suppressants and occasionally antibiotics are prescribed.

It’s been a ‘medical’ week for Penny. Unfortunately, she became quite sick on Tuesday after I accidentally fed her treats that were too old. (I’ve learned a lesson!!) We rushed to the vet and he gave her a painkilling injection for her sore stomach and a penicillin injection in case of infection.

We’re going to wait a couple of days and see how she does before we go back to the vet. Perhaps the penicillin will help her with the cough. Today when we walked along our local creek she was full of energy and fun but she still occasionally coughed or sneezed.


Misadventures of Widowhood said...

I've had four dogs over my adult life and pets growing up. I didn't know any of this stuff about kennel cough and probably wouldn't have recognized it either. I hope Penny is feeling better and back to normal really soon.

Levi's mom

Slavenka said...

It is always sad when our dog is ill, I hope that Penny will quickly return in good shape.

parlance said...

Levi's mom, thanks for saying that you might not have recognised it either - that makes me feel better. I should explain that the photo of her lying down is from Tuesday when she felt so sick after eating old treats and was feeling the effects of the two injections. Except for the occasional cough or sneeze she seems well now. But I still worry a bit and we're keeping a close eye on her.

parlance said...

Slavenka, thanks. I agree that it's sad when a dog isn't well, because they don't understand why they feel so bad.

Noah the Airedale said...

Oh dear, poor Penny. She certainly has been in the wars.

Noah Willow Tess and Lucy

parlance said...

Yep. It's been a not-so-good week.
One of the reasons I like visiting all the dog blogs is that I see that people cope with dog health issues and usually it all turns out okay. The internet is wonderful in the sense of accumulated wisdom. I'd hate to be starting out with a first dog without the internet.

Anonymous said...

I am sooo glad i found your blog! My dog diamond has been experiencing the same thing. I took her to the vet and gave her a Bordetella shot but i feel she's only gotten worse since the shot. But i'm glad to hear its not life threatening. I was starting to worry. Thanks for the Great blog :)

parlance said...

Hi, Eileen.
I hope Diamond is feeling better. I wondered if she seemed a bit worse after the shot because the shot is a little dose of the disease. That's only a guess, though. Sometimes when children get a shot they feel a bit off-color for a couple of days.
I'd love to hear how Diamond gets on.

Emily with the Yorkie said...

my dog is experiencing the same thing. she is throwing up, coughing and sneezing. (my brother-in-law now calls her Asthma!!) I am so relieved its not life threatening!!
I just recently got my Yorkie from a friend and I don't know the last time she's gotten her shots.
I'm afraid to take her to the vet because she might need a lot of them and I cant afford them.
Is it crucial that I take her to the vet asap?

parlance said...

Emily, if my dog was vomiting and coughing and sneezing, I would be going to the vet. I'm sure a good vet would advise you how to deal with it and maybe they would be able to make some sort of deal with you to pay for the treatment in part and pay the rest later.