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I think my dog has kennel cough. What can I do?

Brown Dachshund sitting on a carpeted staircase.

(Photo: Flickr/Howard Young)

I think my dog has kennel cough. What can I do?

November 15, 2012

Q: I believe my dog (Dachshund) has kennel cough, and it doesn't seem very serious. Do I need to take him to the vet right away, or should I wait to see if it goes away?

A: I'm assuming that your Dachshund was at a kennel or around other dogs, which is why you think he has kennel cough. This is caused by either a bacterial or viral infection; if it's bacterial, then antibiotics will cause the cough to stop within a few days. If it's a viral infection, then the dogs usually cough for about 10-14 days, on average.

It tends to get worse before it gets better, and the dogs will occasionally run a fever. They can be contagious while they are coughing. Kennel cough is not life-threatening; I've rarely seen it turn into pneumonia.

If your boy becomes lethargic or stops eating or develops a nasal discharge, then I would have him seen.

Of course, coughing can be secondary to other problems, so if he is still coughing after two weeks or has exercise intolerance or worsens in any way, then you should have him seen by a veterinarian.

-- Answer from VetDeb, an associate veterinarian on JustAnswer.

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