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Kennel Cough 

What is kennel co​ugh? 

Kennel cough—also known as canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRD) 

or infectious tracheobronchitis—is a highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs.

Kennel cough can cause mild symptoms in some dogs but can progress to a life-threatening pneumonia in other dogs.

Kennel cough is an infectious bronchitis that causes the trachea and 

bronchioles to become inflamed, resulting in a dry, hacking cough. This cough 

can sometimes sound like your dog has something stuck in their throat.

Kennel cough can be caused by multiple microorganisms, including 

Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria, canine adenovirus, parainfluenza virus

 and mycoplasma, along with many other bacteria and viruses.

Some dogs may only have a mild cough, while others can become very ill 

with a life-threatening pneumonia. This is why it is important to recognize

 the symptoms of kennel cough and seek treatment immediately.

How Do Dogs Get Kennel Cough?

A healthy dog can get kennel cough by inhaling aerosolized 

bacteria or viruses from an infected dog.

The bacteria and/or virus can be spread from an infected dog through

 coughing or sneezing, and dogs can also get it from infected objects 

(toys, food/water bowls).

Dogs are typically exposed to kennel cough when they are in crowded 

areas that have poor airflow and warm, moist air. Dogs can develop kennel cough approximately three to four days after they are exposed.

Some of these situations include:

Animal shelters

Boarding kennels

Dog daycare facilities

Grooming facilities

Dog parks

What Are the Symptoms of Kennel Cough?

A persistent dry, hacking cough

Coughing during the night that keeps you and your dog awake

Retching with the production of white foam

Severe symptoms include:


Loss of appetite


Labored breathing

Is Kennel Cough Fatal?

Many dogs with kennel cough can recover without complication; however, 

some dogs can become very sick with life-threatening pneumonia.

Dogs that are more susceptible to complications from kennel cough include:

Puppies that have immature immune systems 

(especially young puppies that have not been fully vaccinated)

Older dogs that have a decreased immune defense or 

other serious diseases (heart failure, diabetes, or cancer)

Pregnant dogs that may have a lower immunity

Dogs that have pre-existing respiratory diseases 

(tracheal collapse, chronic bronchitis, severe respiratory allergies)

How Long Does Kennel Cough Last?

Dogs with mild kennel cough are usually sick for about one or two 

weeks and recover well.

These dogs usually only experience mild clinical signs and quickly recover from kennel cough, which translates to a good prognosis.

Dogs that have complicated cases of kennel cough can be sick for

 three to six weeks, with a long road to recovery. If dogs are severely 

affected by kennel cough and develop pneumonia, they could possibly die.

What Is the Kennel Cough Treatment?

The treatment for kennel cough will depend on your dog and the severity

 of the kennel cough.

Mild Cases of Kennel Cough

For mild cases of kennel cough, treatment may only include supportive 

care, which focuses on rest, nutrition, and hydration.

A cough suppressant may be prescribed by your dog’s veterinarian to help 

reduce the frequency of the cough.

It should take about one to two weeks for a dog to recover from a mild case of kennel cough. Some dogs can completely recover on their own with no treatment required.

Severe Cases of Kennel Cough

Complicated cases of kennel cough can cause your dog to become very sick. 

A dog with severe kennel cough will most likely be coughing, acting very 

lethargic, and not wanting to eat or drink.

If a dog has developed pneumonia, then treatment can involve:


Intravenous fluids


Possibly oxygen therapy

The cost of kennel cough treatment in complicated cases can sometimes

 be over $1,000 depending on the number of days of hospitalization required.

Are There Home Remedies for Kennel Cough in Dogs?

For mild cases of kennel cough, there are a few at-home remedy 

options. However, keep an eye out for signs that the kennel cough is 

getting worse or not getting better.

Add Honey to Warm Water

Honey can be a great home remedy for kennel cough as it can help

 soothe your dog's throat and minimize coughing.

You can give your dog one-half tablespoon to 1 tablespoon of honey mixed with 

a little warm water in a bowl. This can be offered up to three times a day 

depending on how often your dog is coughing.

Use a Humidifier

A small humidifier can be placed near your dog while they are resting.

The humidifier will moisten the air that your dog breathes, which can help with

 irritation of the respiratory tract.

Use Your Shower to Do Steam Therapy

If you’re taking a hot shower or bath, let your dog stay in the closed 

bathroom with you—but not in the shower or bath. The hot shower can provide 

steam therapy and also help to decrease irritation.

Make Sure Your Dog Is Getting Plenty of Rest

Rest is very important for your dog while recovering from kennel 

cough.Try to reduce the amount of exercise your dog gets on a daily basis

 while they are recovering from kennel cough—this can help with healing

 and reduce coughing spells.

How to Help Your Dog to Recover From Kennel Cough

While your dog is home recovering from kennel cough, make sure to avoid 

irritants such as household cleaners, cigarette smoke, and dust. These

 things can cause more irritation and prolong your dog’s recovery.

If you take your dog outside, consider using a harness instead of a 

collar. The harness will allow you to go for a walk without applying pressure 

on their trachea like a collar would, which can worsen your dog’s cough.

Canine Parvovirus

What is Canine Parvovirus? 

Canine parvovirus (CPV or commonly referred to as “parvo”) is one of the most serious

 viruses that dogs can get. Thankfully, it is very preventable with proper vaccination.

This virus was discovered in 1967 and has rapidly become a serious threat to canine health. 

This is primarily due to the fact that the virus is hard to kill, can live for a long time in the environment and is shed in large quantities by infected dogs.

The virus `is also highly contagious, which is why the parvo vaccine is considered a 

core vaccine for puppies and dogs.

While the highly effective parvovirus vaccine has decreased the risk to properly

 vaccinated dogs, this disease is unfortunately still widely prevalent, especially in

 puppies and adolescent dogs.

How Do Dogs Get Parvo? Is Parvo Airborne?

Parvovirus is an incredibly contagious disease that spreads quickly and efficiently. 

While canine parvovirus is not airborne, it can be found on many surfaces within

 the environment. It is spread by contact with contaminated feces, but you don’t 

have to see solid feces for the virus to be present. It can live on the ground or on 

surfaces in kennels, on people's hands or on the clothing of people that have been 

contaminated. Dogs could also carry it on their fur or paws if they have come into 

contact with contaminated fecal material.

Parvovirus can live outdoors for months, if not years, and is resistant to many 

disinfectants, although it is susceptible to diluted bleach and some specialized cleaners

 commonly used in veterinary hospitals.

Can Humans Get Parvo?

Parvovirus is species-specific, so humans have their own version of the virus. 

This means that humans cannot get parvovirus from dogs and dogs cannot get

 parvovirus from people.

However, it’s still important to use the utmost caution by wearing personal protective

 equipment if you come into contact with an infected dog. While you may not get parvo,

 the virus could be spread to another dog via your hands or the clothes you are wearing.

Can Cats Get Parvo from Dogs?

Cats also have a type of parvovirus that causes severe disease, known as

 feline panleukopenia (see Cat's Heath Page).

While dogs cannot get feline parvovirus from cats, cats can become infected with 

canine parvovirus. They most often have much more mild clinical signs than dogs do, 

but there is a strain of canine parvovirus that can cause severe illness in cats.

The feline parvovirus vaccine, which is part of the core FVRCP vaccine, may offer 

some cross-protection against canine parvovirus.

What Are the Signs of Parvo in Dogs?

A dog infected with canine parvovirus will start to show symptoms within three to 

seven days of infection.

An infected puppy will often show lethargy as the first sign, and they may not want

 to eat. They will also often have a fever.

As the virus progresses, your dog will begin to suffer from severe vomiting and diarrhea.

Severely sick puppies may collapse and have a high heart rate and hypothermia due 

to the degree of dehydration and infection.

How Is Parvovirus Diagnosed in Dogs? Are There Parvo Tests?

Fecal ELISA tests (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) are the most 

common way of diagnosing a dog with parvovirus in a clinical setting.

The test requires a fecal swab and takes about 10 minutes.

While this test is accurate, a negative result does not necessarily rule out 

parvovirus in a symptomatic dog, as they may not be shedding the viral antigen 

at the time of testing. Further testing may be needed in these cases.

What Are the Stages of Parvo?

The stages of canine parvovirus follow the stages of most viral infections.

1. Infection

The puppy (or adult dog) is exposed to viral particles via fecal material

 from an infected dog. These viral particles can come from a few places:

The environment, on the ground or on a surface, the mother dog, people/clothing/inanimate 

objects that came into contact with the feces of an infected dog

It is worth noting that only a very small amount of fecal material is necessary

 to cause infection, which enters through the mouth of the puppy or dog.

2. Incubation

There is an incubation period (between three and seven days) in which the 

dog is infected with parvovirus but not yet showing symptoms.

During this period, the virus specifically seeks out the most rapidly dividing cells

 in the body—typically, it starts attacking the tonsils or lymph nodes of the throat. 

By targeting these rapidly dividing cells, the virus is able to multiply effectively and efficiently

 and invade other parts of the dog’s system.

Once it has multiplied and entered the bloodstream, the virus will seek out other sources 

of rapidly diving cells. The most hard-hit areas are:

Bone marrow

Cells that line the walls of the small intestines

In small puppies, parvovirus can also infect the heart, which causes inflammation 

of the heart muscle, poor heart function, and arrythmias.

3. Illness

When the virus infects the bone marrow, it attacks the young immune cells, 

which leads a drop in protective white blood cells. This weakens the body’s ability to protect

 itself and allows the virus to more easily invade the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. 

This is where the worst damage happens. The virus attacks the lining of the 

small intestine, which prevents the dog’s GI tract from being able to:

Absorb nutrients

Prevent fluid loss into the stool

Prevent bacteria from moving into the gut

This leads to serious health issues, such as:




Severe dehydration


Possibly sepsis

While parvo in dogs is not always fatal, those that do not survive typically die from

 dehydration or shock—along with the damage caused by the septic toxins from the 

intestinal bacteria escaping into the bloodstream.

4. Recovery

Recovery from parvovirus varies case by case. Full recovery may take quite a while 

depending on the severity of the disease and the damage it has done.

Dogs that can recover from infection are sick for five to 10 days after symptoms

 begin.It is very important that puppies with parvovirus receive adequate nutrition 

so that their intestines can heal.

Dogs recovering from a parvo infection should be fed a bland, easily digestible diet.

 Hill’s, Purina, and Royal Canin all make prescription veterinary diets that are 

carefully formulated to be nutritionally balanced and gentle on the GI tract.

How Long Does Parvo Last? What’s the Prognosis for a Dog With Parvo?

Hospital stays generally last around five to seven days, but this varies depending 

on the severity of symptoms.

The highest risk of death occurs around 24-72 hours after you see the 

symptoms of parvo in dogs. If a puppy is hospitalized, given lots of supportive care 

and monitored closely, the survival rate is around 75-80%. Survival is more difficult if

 the dog is not given veterinary attention quickly after showing clinical signs, or if the dog 

is not hospitalized with sufficient supportive care.

Are There Home Remedies for Parvo?

There are no home remedies for parvo.

In some cases, if a dog is not severely ill, or if expensive treatment is prohibitive, then 

treatment on an outpatient basis may be attempted with help from the vet.

Outpatient treatment for parvo in dogs includes:

Subcutaneous fluids (fluids given under the skin as a source of hydration)

A special highly digestible diet

Antiemetics to stop vomiting

Possibly antidiarrheals

While some dogs can recover from this protocol, it is much safer—and more likely to 

have better outcomes—if the dog is hospitalized.

What Is the Treatment for Parvo?

There is no cure for parvovirus, so the treatment revolves around supporting the 

puppy so their body can fight off the virus.

Supportive care for parvovirus generally includes:

Hospitalization with intravenous fluids

Antiemetics to stop vomiting

Focusing on nutrition, with a feeding tube, if necessary

Correction of any electrolyte imbalances or low blood glucose

Puppies exhibiting signs of sepsis—where the gut becomes so “leaky” from disease 

that bacteria from the intestines enter the bloodstream—require antibiotic therapy.

Puppies with a high fever or low white blood cell count may also receive antibiotics.

How Much Does Parvo Treatment Cost?

The cost of treatment can vary greatly based on the severity of illness, length of 

hospital stay, and location of the veterinary clinic.

Costs could start around several hundred dollars for outpatient treatment and up to several thousand dollars for a severe case with hospitalization.

On average, expect treatment to cost $1,000-1,500 minimum.

Needless to say, it is much more cost-effective to have your dog fully vaccinated 

than to have a dog with parvovirus.

How to Prevent Your Dog from Getting Parvo

The canine parvovirus vaccine is most often given in a combination vaccine 

that goes by a variety of acronyms: DHPP, DAPP, DA2PP, DHLPP, etc. This vaccine is

 considered a core vaccine and should be given every three to four weeks from 

6 weeks to at least 16 weeks of age.

The most important thing is making sure you get your puppy in on time for their 

vaccines. If too much time has passed between boosters, the vaccine series will 

need to be started over again to maintain protection.

Puppies should only socialize with fully vaccinated dogs until they are able 

to be fully vaccinated. Areas where vaccination status is not ensured, such as 

dog parks, should be avoided.

An exception is puppy classes at a reputable training centre, as all puppies are

 required to have at least their first vaccine against parvovirus, and training and 

socialization at an early age are extremely important.

A dog will need to receive a booster vaccine at one year of age to be considered fully vaccinated. Dogs should also continue to receive vaccines every one to three years for life.

Can a Vaccinated Dog Get Parvo?

While no vaccine can promise to be 100% effective, the canine parvovirus 

vaccine is very effective and provides excellent protection from the virus. It is very 

unlikely that an appropriately vaccinated dog would become ill with canine parvovirus.

It’s important to make sure that puppies get the appropriate number of boosters based

 on their age, and that they are then boostered after one year, and then every one to three

 years. If a vaccinated dog comes into contact with a dog that is sick and actively shedding parvovirus, it would not be unreasonable to booster the vaccine early.

Can a Dog Get Parvovirus Twice?

While not impossible, it is very unlikely that a dog that has recovered from canine 

parvovirus would get it again.

Immunity for parvovirus lasts for several years.

However, this does not mean that your dog does not need to be vaccinated against canine parvovirus if he or she has recovered from it in the past

. Routine vaccinations should still be performed.