Treating Canine Kennel Cough With Doxycycline

Canine kennel cough (tracheobronchitis) is a highly contagious disease caused by several airborne bacteria and viruses, including Bordetella bronchiseptica, parainfluenza and mycoplasma. Dog kennel cough symptoms develop within a week of exposure and are most commonly a dry, hacking cough followed by retching and coughing up a white foamy discharge.

The cough is due to an inflammation of the trachea (windpipe) and the bronchi (air sacs within the lung). Sometimes rhinitis (inflamed nasal mucous membrane), conjunctivitis ("pink eye") or a nasal discharge accompanies the disease. Depression, fever, lethargy, thick yellow/green nasal discharge or pneumonia can develop.

Diagnosing Kennel Cough

A veterinarian can diagnose kennel cough by simply applying pressure to a dog's trachea. If it produces a dry, hacking cough that is usually an indication that it is kennel cough; however, a chest x-ray, complete blood count and a bacterial culture is warranted for more severe cases. Kennel cough sounds as though the dog has "something in the back of his throat".

Treating Kennel Cough with Doxycycline

Doxycycline and clavamox are some of the common antibiotics prescribed to treat kennel cough. Recovery can take from 4 to 20 days, depending upon which virus is involved. The dog needs plenty of water, rest and a "soft food" canine diet since his throat is sore and swallowing may be difficult. The veterinarian may also recommend an over-the-counter cough-suppressant.