View Full Version : Kennel cough

Heather Kay
12th April 2007, 05:43 PM
Hi everyone,
I need advice-- I am pretty sure my poor little baby has kennel cough. She has all the classic symptoms--dry heaving coughing, sensitive trachea, vomiting, no change in eating/playing habits. Usually after a coughing fit, she's right back to her playful happy self as if not even phased by anything! It just sounds soooo bad, I just want to pick her up and hold her every time it happens, which is pretty much every half hour or so. It's worse at night.

Now my questions:
1. How long does kennel cough last (estimate)?
2. How common is it?
3. I have her on antibiotics and a cough suppressant. Should I also get x-rays and blood work done (in case its not kennel cough but something more serious?)
4. Is it presumptuous to ask my breeder to cover her vet expenses (since she obviously came to me with this condition)?
5. Should I keep her away from other dogs even if they've been vaccinated against kennel cough?

I opted not to do the x-rays even though my vet recommended it as a safeguard, because the estimate was over $400 for everything. I've had her less than 72 hours, so pet insurance is definitely in order.

Thanks in advance for your help!

12th April 2007, 06:05 PM

I am a bit confused. Have you decided to treat this on your own or has she been seen by a vet who prescribed the medication??

Heather Kay
12th April 2007, 06:10 PM
Sorry for the confusion -- no, the vet has prescribed the medication. She also suggested the x-rays and blood work but right now I am just have her on the meds to see if she improves first. If its just kennel cough, the x-rays/blood work isn't going to tell me anything.

12th April 2007, 06:14 PM
I know there have been a few people here that have dealt with KC before.

What I know about it is that it's highly contagious and your dog should be kept away from other dogs while she's recovering from it.

If I were in your situation I would most definately ask your breeder to cover the expenses of KC and you should inform her right away that that's what your puppy has been diagnosed with. I know of a circumstance where KC wiped out a whole litter of new born babies :(:(

maybe someone else can help you out a little more :xfngr: :dogwlk:

12th April 2007, 06:54 PM
To be blunt: illness in pupoies, especially young puppies, always should be a serious concern. If you want to be SURE she will not become seriously ill or die, I'd do what your vet wants and ALSO ask your breeder to cover the costs. KC can very quickly turn very serious in a young puppy -- as in, turn to peumonia and they will fail FAST if this isn't caught early.

The real concern in a pup this young and still not virus immune would be that this could be distemper which has a very high fatality rate.

Also your vet should be advising on all your questions -- give them a call right away; they should be happy to answer (that is why they are there) and also are a better informed source of information on how serious this is and how best to manage your particular puppy.

Was she coughing when she came to you? The breeder must have other dogs with KC then if your pup has not been in contact with any other dogs. That suggests some lack of proper care in the home environment as her own breeding dogs and litter should have been isolated or the adults should have been vaccinated OR the majority kept isolated from young puppies.


The many signs of distemper are not always typical. For this reason, treatment may be delayed or neglected. The disease frequently brings about something like a severe cold. Most infected dogs have a fever and "stuffed up" head. Exposed animals may develop bronchitis, pneumonia and severe inflammation of the stomach and intestines.

The first signs of distemper an owner might notice are squinting, congestion of the eyes, and a discharge of pus from the eyes. Weight loss, coughing, vomiting, nasal discharge, and diarrhea are common. In later stages the virus frequently attacks the nervous system, bringing about partial or complete paralysis as well as "fits" or twitching. Dogs suffering from the disease are usually listless and have poor appetites.

Sometimes the signs may be very mild and perhaps go unrecognized, or the dog may have a slight fever for a couple of weeks. If pneumonia, intestinal inflammation or other problems develop, recovery takes much longer. Nervous problems often last many weeks after the animal has recovered from all other signs of infection. Occasionally the virus causes rapid growth of the tough keratin cells on the footpad, resulting in a hardened pad.

Distemper is so prevalent and the signs so varied that any sick young dog should be taken to a veterinarian for a definite diagnosis.

12th April 2007, 07:03 PM
If the vet suggests X-rays, I'd have them done like a shot. You'll feel awful if it's something more serious

Barbara Nixon
12th April 2007, 07:06 PM
How long have you had your puppy ? I believe the incubation period is 5 to 10 days. It can still be contagious after symptoms disappear, too.

Heather Kay
12th April 2007, 07:45 PM
It's apparent that she's a seedy breeder - my own misjudgment, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to let Bella suffer because of it. I didn't flat out ask her to cover the expenses, but mentioned how much the estimate was and also hinted that Bella got KC from her home, to see what her response would be. She didn't even seem aware that Bella was coughing, or any of her dogs for that matter. There was no mention of it on her health certificate/vet records.

I assume a responsible breeder would be more concerned than she has been, and take more care into providing me with a healthy puppy, so I have definitely learned my lesson. I will see about getting Bella in ASAP for the x-rays. Fingers crossed she's okay...

12th April 2007, 08:03 PM
If you have a contract from her it probably says something about the dog being guaranteed health cleared and covered for one year for illness or something along those lines. The problem is so-so breeders usually say they will 'replace the puppy' and tell you that is the only option you have, knowing you won't opt for this. If she is an AKC or CKCSC registered breeder than complain to the parent and regional club if she fails to offer any backup and has sold a sickly puppy.

One thing to keep in mind is that these things can happen -- a puppy is a living thing and can get sick despite best care from the breeder.

BUT: a good breeder will be right there for you, will most likely help to cover or totally cover costs and would be concerned for her other dogs.

KC is pretty variable in how long it can last -- usually a week or two; coughing should clear fairly quickly. The dog is highly contagious though and generally shouldn;t be introduced to other dogs even those WITH KC injectons as the injection doesn't cover all strains but does cover the most common ones. The immediate concern would be for the other dogs as the adults are unlikely to give KC to the puppy if they are vaccinated but Bella could easily pass it to other dogs.