View Full Version : Andre has kennel cough... pretty sure

19th June 2009, 07:52 PM
I'm pretty sure Andre has kennel cough. And the most annoying thing is that he contracted it after seeing the vet for his first set of vaccinations.

The vet appointment was three Wednesdays ago - he developed a mild sneeze for about three days afterwards but I attributed it to a side effect of the vaccines (he got the combo distemper/parvo/etc vaccine plus Bordatella). Then for about four days his sneezing got a lot worse. About one week after his vet visit, he started snorting/coughing/hacking. It was pretty mild at first and he was acting normal otherwise so I didn't take him in to see the vet. The last three days or so the coughing has gotten worse - in severity and frequency (although half the time i can't tell if he's actually coughing or snorting). Today is his ninth day of coughing and I am taking him to the vet tomorrow. His appetite is normal. Stools are normal. Hasn't vomited once. His level of activity was pretty high until about yesterday, when I noticed him becoming slightly more lethargic but still pretty active overall.

I'm just confused because I've read so many different things on the internet. Some sites say you just need to wait it out. Others say to give the dog antibiotics so that it doesn't develop into anything worse. Others say that antibiotics should only be administered if absolutely necessary. I've also seen some posts of people whose puppies coughed for up to three months despite taking antibiotics!! That's quite alarming! Any advice?? Is there a best course of action?!? If antibiotics are the solution, is any one type recommended over others?

He's still really young - only 13 weeks old......

19th June 2009, 07:54 PM
Isn't bordatella the kennel cough vaccine? Maybe he had a reaction to it. I would def take him in.

19th June 2009, 08:03 PM
yeah bordatella is the kennel cough vaccine but i've read that it takes a few days to take effect (plus it doesn't protect against all types of kennel cough). So he could have still gotten it at the vet's office before his body had built up an immune response from the vaccine.

19th June 2009, 08:08 PM
You should get him into the vet especially as puppies can have kennel cough turn pretty quickly to pneumonia which can be very serious then.

They cannot get kennel cough from the vaccine. However it is very contagious and there's an incubation period so he could well have had it coming from the breeder or form going into the vet office itself.

I try not to have all those vaccines given at once -- in future I'd ask to have kennel cough done a few days later. Generally you don;t do kennel cough unless you are going to be leaving your dog in someplace where s/he would be exposed to lots of other dogs -- eg daycare or kennels or boarding. :thmbsup:

PS it's always a good idea to ring the vet for advice on whether a dog needs to go in. Mine are great about advising,.

Cathy Moon
19th June 2009, 08:08 PM
With puppies that young, you really don't want to wait anything out - no matter what you read on the Internet. Young puppies don't have any reserves to fall back on when ill, like adult dogs do. Pups can become dehydrated or overcome by infection at the drop of a hat, so they require a quick trip to the vet for most symptoms of illness.

One of my cavaliers, Geordie, had a form of kennel cough when he was 5 months old. The vet put him on antibiotics, but the cough continued. We were told to use a vaporizer, and Theophylline was prescribed, among other things. We had to call the vet one night. The next day we took Geordie in to have his lungs scoped. The vet retrieved and cultured samples, then antibiotics were tested on the cultures to find the most effective one. After a course of antibiotics Geordie finally recovered 100%. The vet told us the first course of antibiotics didn't work because Geordie probably started off with a viral form of kennel cough, which later turned into a bacterial form.

heather r
19th June 2009, 08:13 PM
I also would get your pup to the vet pronto!

Our golden came down with a bad case of some virus two winters ago even though she had the kennel cough shot. The vet said that the vaccine works against most viral infections but not all.

Heather R

19th June 2009, 08:27 PM
Thanks for the quick responses guys. I will definitely take him in - I called and switched the appointment to today.

For some reason, I don't really trust my vet's office. I always feel like they are trying to get as much money out of me as they can .... but maybe I'm just being paranoid. Dogs, after all, do cost a lot of money. But every time I call and ask a question, the receptionist basically just says "You should make an appointment and bring the dog in." I feel like I can't even get any advice without paying for a visit, which by the way, is $55. They recently increased their prices. For those in the US, does this sound normal?

Does anyone else feel this way about their vet?

19th June 2009, 10:17 PM
Just quick note on Kennel Cough. I foster, not for here, and the dogs I take are coming directly from the pound. Generally,they haev been exosed to KC and qutie a few develop it. Each dog reacts differently to it but a course of antibioitcs will usually improve their condition and the coughing reduces after about a week. They can cough (more infrequently) for a while after it has cleared up. The big thing I can say is disinfect everything the dog comes into contact with (beds, floors, counters, furniture etc.) because any other dog that comes into contact with them can be exposed and it's very contgious. I had 5 in my house at one point with it (it was like the plague!) which wasn't pretty, not to mention the poor pets were quite sick with it. Also, while your dog is coughing try not to let them come into contact with other dogs, it can pass it on.

About your vet, if you are not happy then perhaps changing practice may be a good choice. It does seem odd to me that you can't ring up and talk to a vet or nurse about concerns, and then make an appointment fi there is need to. Obviously, it is totally your call but if you don't like the service then elsewhere may provide one you are more satisfied with. As you said, dogs can be pricey and a good vet is vitial!

20th June 2009, 05:57 PM
Thats rediculas paying for advice, i phoned my vet about harleys suspected sm (after we decided to leave it and watch him) he arranged a referral and phoned me back and sent a letter all for nothing. di

20th June 2009, 06:15 PM
I sure hope Andre gets to feeling better really soon. It's a good thing you are taking him in sooner. Even in humans, some left over coughs can persist for a long time.

As for your vet, if your gut reaction is that you don't feel comfortable with the vet, I would certainly ask friends with dogs for recommendations. You might have to travel a bit farther, but you really need to have a vet that you feel you can trust. I can't begin to tell you how much I pay in vet bills! I have four dogs of my own and I also maintain vet visits for my elderly mother's dog. It is expensive but I feel very comfortable talking to my vet and I feel that his staff is very competent. Unfortunately, things are expensive these days. I think I pay between $45-55 for office visits and then there are all the add-ons such as tests, meds, etc....You really need to trust your instincts.

murphy's mum
20th June 2009, 06:52 PM
Aww hugs, I gope Andre is feeling better soon :hug:

heather r
20th June 2009, 08:35 PM
Agree that you should ask for recommendations for other vets. We have had no problem in getting help for our dogs without always going to vet. If it's a brand new problem or something needing testing we will be asked to come in. If it's a question on food or over the counter med for either an upset tummy or for an allergy etc. the vet or assistant will give advice.

Our vet basic charge has been $40 but we are in a retirement area not a big city.

Heather R

29th June 2009, 08:56 AM
Sorry it's taken so long for an update but I've had a hectic week (lots of other personal issues) . Here is my (long) update:

So I took Andre to my vet ten days ago. I wanted to get him in as soon as possible, so no time to research and find a new vet, even though I'm not too happy with this place.

Here's some background about the practice: They have a male vet and a female vet (I am going to use gender to distinguish between them because I don't want to use their names - sorry if this becomes annoying). The female vet is the main one at the practice and works all days of the week except Thursdays and Fridays. Thursday and Fridays are when the male vet comes in. He performed Harlow's spay surgery in February while I was out the the country. According to my parents, he had glued her incision shut, but apparently hadn't done a quality job because the wound opened after a few days. They had to take Harlow back in to get the wound stapled shut by the female vet. The reason I suspect he had done a bad job is that she seemed apologetic and didn't charge for the stapling visit. Another thing - he voluntarily removed two of Harlow's loose baby teeth during the spay surgery and informed my parents that he had done this, but "wouldn't charge them for it." Umm..... thanks?

When I made the expedited appointment for Andre ten days ago, it was a Friday, so the male vet was working. He gave Andre an amoxicillin shot, and sent us home with nine days worth of liquid Amoxicillin as well as cough suppressant pills. He said that since Andre's activity level and appetite were normal, he'd start Andre out with this conservative treatment plan and told me to return after a week if the cough still persisted. The cough suppressants have worked well, but every time I've tried to decrease their use, he goes back to the same level of coughing. Still no other symptoms - just a really congested cough. So, basically, the antibiotics have not improved his condition at all and I took Andre back this past Friday for a follow-up visit (FYI they charge less for follow-up exams).

As soon as I arrived at the vet's office, I told the vet tech at the front desk that Andre should go into one of the exam rooms ASAP because he has kennel cough and is contagious. I had Andre in his plastic crate this entire time. It took her a few minutes to go back and check the room availability, in which time Andre sneezed and I saw a few droplets of his nasal fluid escape from the bars of the crate and land on the wooden lobby bench. I immediately told the vet tech that she should disinfect the bench so no other dogs would get sick. She then took Andre's crate to an isolation area, and when she returned I reminded her about disinfecting the bench. Her reply was this:

"I was instructed not to disinfect it because that would damage the wood." :yikes

My incredulous response was: "So preserving your benches is more important than the health of your animals?"

And she replied "What he has is not really very airborne. The reason he's in isolation is to prevent other dogs from touching their noses to his. That's really the main way that it spreads." .... is this statement correct?

"But he's in his crate." (this was me)

"Still, curious dogs could come and touch their noses to his."

That exchange was SO infuriating, especially since I'm pretty sure the vet's office is where Andre contracted the kennel cough.

Anyway, we finally saw the vet. He said that since the cough has persisted, we could do x-rays and get blood work done. It was never explained to me why Andre would need these, and given my mistrust of this place, I asked "Couldn't we just try another antibiotic?" The vet responded "Ok, we could do that if you want. Maybe this time we could try Clavamox or Cephalexin." This immediately confused me. Clavamox is Amoxicillin combined with clavulanic acid. Why would he suggest essentially the same antibiotic that he'd prescribed a week before even after I had told him there had been no improvement with the Amoxicillin? I asked him if the two weren't essentially the same thing and he replied "Well....Clavamox is stronger."

I also asked him if it was an issue that I had given Andre the DHPP vaccine and bordatella simultaneously at such a young age and he said no that shouldn't have been a problem.

He left the exam room to order a prescription of Cephalixin for Andre (I had rejected his Clavamox suggestion) and I sat and thought that my level of mistrust for this place (and specifically for him) was too high for me to follow his instructions. So I quickly went out and told him to cancel the antibiotic prescription. I figured I could call the next time the female vet was working and ask her what my best course of action would be (plus I wanted to complain to her about the bench-disinfecting incident). I'm not 100% sure about her either, but I at least trust her more than the male vet.

So this morning, I called the vet's office and asked them to leave a message with the female vet that I had questions regarding Andre's kennel cough. They said that she returns calls after the office closes at 6pm. Fine. I was driving home from San Francisco to Los Angeles and the car charger for my phone broke just as I started the drive. My phone was completely out of battery life. I was so determined not to miss my conversation with the vet that I pulled off the highway and bought a new charger. At 6pm sharp I get a call from the vet's assistant telling me that the vet's recommendation is to bring Andre in for a visit in order for her to be able to adequately answer my questions. I said, "I just had a few general questions for her about the illness" The assistant replied "Ok what are the questions, let me ask her...." I tried to formulate some questions, but really, I just wanted to have an overall conversation with her about my concerns - about the usefulness of antibiotics, about the risk of pneuomonia, about their hygiene practices of the office.... so I said "You know, I really just want to talk to the vet." The assistant placed me on hold, but when when she returned she STILL didn't put the vet on the line. The assistant tried to talk to me some more, but my phone lost reception and the call was lost. I called back, the assistant picked up and then the call was immediately dropped again. When I called back again five minutes later, no one picked up. My calls went directly to voicemail. I left a message and said that I would bring Andre in for an appointment tomorrow morning like they had suggested. I was near tears.

At this point, I am so frustrated and disappointed with this place. :mad:

I am going to try and find a new vet ASAP. Apparently there is a really awesome one near me. Maybe a little too awesome -they're apparently so popular that they don't accept new patients unless recommended by one of their current clients.

Andre's cough is still pretty bad when he's not on the cough suppressants. It's so frustrating because he is missing obedience classes (that was the reason I had requested he get the Bordatella vaccine at this age) and I can't take him anywhere. I'm just hoping this doesn't affect his socialization :? He has also fallen behind on his vaccinations.

One last thing - I have contracted a cough as well. :sl*p: I almost never get JUST a cough with no other symptoms. It's time frame directly coincides with Andre's cough (I started coughing right after Andre did and it's continued for both of us for over two weeks now) I was up coughing for hours last night. Is it possible that our coughs are related? The vet has insisted there is no way Andre could have gotten me sick.....but I can't help but think this is too big of a coincidence. At least Harlow is still cough free....

That's all for now. I really needed to vent. Thanks for reading!

29th June 2009, 09:07 AM
At least he doesn't look sick!


29th June 2009, 10:06 AM
Firstly - love the pic, little beauty!

I feel for you - nothing worse than trying to deal with places of business that are just frustraiting. KC is airbourne and whoever was there should have been running to get disinfectant. It spreads like wild fire in kennels (thus the name), pounds etc. and often times the dogs have no direct contact with each other. Direct contact with nasal fluid, and thus noses, of a dog with KC is very risky but it's not the only way of spreading it, and the bench should have been cleaned up immediately.

I think you are right to feel so untrusting of your vets and also to go on the hunt for another one. In these situations, gut feelings are usually right and I'm glad to ehar you are going with yours.

Also, on you being sick -I have never heard of it passing to humans but there are quite a few strains of it so... I really don't know. :sl*p:

Ho[e everyone is feeling better soon.