Friday, June 27, 2014

Hack, hack, hack! Kennel cough hits my dog hard

Boston terrier selfie with human
While she spends most of her days taking selfies, lying around in the grass and otherwise doing boring dog things, Sinead the Boston terrier also has to go to the vet from time to time. Last week, she had to head in for a rabies shot.

My vet keeps the office clean and tidy, but obviously, it's a place that's full of pets that are feeling a little under the weather. While I can't prove it, I would bet that Sinead was sitting close to some critter with kennel cough, and she ended up with a nasty cough of her own in the day or two following that visit.

Sinead had the pretty traditional kennel cough symptoms you see on web articles like this one from the ASPCA. She hacked, hacked, hacked in the middle of the night and first thing in the morning, and sometimes, she coughed so hard that she brought up a nasty chunk of white goo. She ate normally, drank normally and had perfectly healthy bathroom habits. But I could tell she just didn't feel all that great.
Sinead the Boston terrier looking sad
Heartbreaking, right?
Predictably, her symptoms were only mildly concerning at the end of the week. I thought she swallowed wrong, or ran too hard or got too hot. In other words, I could find reasonable explanations for her symptoms. But on Saturday night, when all of the vet offices were closed, she erupted into full-blown misery.

So I babied her and kept her hydrated. We also spent a little time in the steamy bathroom, just to help soothe her cough. And she got a break from those terrible walks she hates.

Thankfully, by Monday, she was almost completely better. But just to be safe, I'm keeping her away from other dogs for now. This article suggests that she'll continue to shed the virus for weeks. I don't want her to pass this to anyone else. It's too late for Liam to be isolated, but he seems to have escaped the contagion without getting sick.

Small Boston terrier sitting nicely

I know we got lucky here, and that kennel cough can become much more serious with time. No need to remind me to watch her carefully for a recurrence, thank you very much. But I think I will start bringing some wipes with me for our next vet visit. Maybe by wiping her paws when we leave, or keeping her from touching the floor in the first place, I can keep this from happening to her again.

Also, the evidence suggests that vaccines aren't ideal for dogs like Sinead. See this article from the Whole Dogs Journal on the risks/benefits of vaccination in dogs who don't go to kennels.

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