Kennel Cough: My Family's Most Expensive Trip to the Dog Park by Jessica Acree

5 years ago

Kennel Cough: My Family's Most Expensive Trip to the Dog Park

It started as a mild cough, like something was stuck in Bruno's throat. He would hack and gag a bit and then go about his day. I felt bad, but he seemed fine otherwise. He'll be OK. But, it didn't go away and became more frequent. I was concerned.

I called our vet. "Have you recently boarded him?" they asked immediately. "Nope, never actually!" I replied. And then it dawned on me. Six days prior, we had taken Bruno to a local dog park on a nice day so he could burn some energy. It's admittedly not something we do often, so it had been months since our last visit. 

I was told to bring him in and was directed to the back door, to their special quarantined exam room. After checking his vitals and hearing his cough, he was diagnosed with a likely case of kennel cough. About $170 later, we were sent home with an antibiotic, a steroid and a prescription for extra rest, water, pets and snuggles. I also made sure to let the other dog park visitors know. On that note, if your dog has an illness that is easily passed to other canines, please keep them home. 

Here's what you need to know about kennel cough from the American Kennel Club:

  • It is a highly contagious respiratory disease.
  • The most obvious symptom is a strong cough, often with a “honking” sound.
  • It's easily treatable in healthy dogs, but can lead to more severe problems.
  • An antibiotic can prevent a secondary infection and cough medication can help, too.
  • A common vaccine is available for the bordetella bacterium, to help prevent the illness.

Know the symptoms and be sure to stay on guard if you plan to have your pup around a large group of dogs whether you're boarding, going to the dog park or enrolling in training programs.

P.S. In case you're wondering, Bruno is much better now. Pill Pockets and cheese work well for hiding medication, so he’s loving all of his extra treats!

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Donna John
My dog got kennel cough once after being boarded. It's something pet owners definitely need to keep an eye out for. I would have never associated it with being at a dog park, though. Thanks for sharing!
Jessica Acree
It has NEVER crossed my mind for the dog park either. But now it makes perfect sense!
Elisa Schmitz
Oh, no! So sorry Bruno got sick, Jessica Acree . Our dog has not gotten kennel cough, thankfully, but she has a ton of allergies. So we give her medicine every day. It is no fun, but keeps her healthy. Pets are so wonderful. Hugs to Bruno!
Jessica Acree
Thanks Elisa! Daily treats sounds dreamy! Anything for the beloved furry members of our family... :)
Mike Prochaska
Don’t they give shots for that. I
Jessica Acree
Yup. There is a vaccine, but it’s generally associated with boarding or doggie daycare. Not dog park use, so... 🙌🏼

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