Kennel Cough in Chesapeake Bay Retrievers: Cause, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

We all love our pets and would do anything to see them happy and healthy. 

Just like any dog breed, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers catch different types of respiratory diseases, including kennel cough. 

But what is kennel cough? Is it serious? What are its symptoms? How to treat it? Is it a vaccine-preventable disease? All of these questions (and more!) will be answered in today’s article about kennel cough in Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. 

So, without further ado, let’s get started. 

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel Cough (canine infectious tracheobronchitis) is a respiratory disease that affects many dog breeds

This disease is extremely contagious, and canines usually contract it in settings with large concentrations of dogs, including dog parks, boarding and daycare facilities, dog shows, and training facilities. 

Kennel cough can be spread from one dog to another through airborne droplets, touching noses, and contaminated surfaces. 

This respiratory disease can be easily treated in most cases. However, pups under 6 months in age and dogs with fragile immune systems may experience more severe symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of Kennel Cough in Chesapeake Bay Retrievers?

A Chessie who’s affected by kennel cough may experience the following symptoms:

  • A strong, hacking cough, as if there’s something stuck in your dog’s throat
  • Sneezing
  • Low fever 
  • Runny nose
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Lethargy

Keep in mind that both canine influenza and canine distemper have symptoms that are very similar to kennel cough at the beginning. There are also other canine diseases that might cause coughing, including asthma, bronchitis, heart disease, and a collapsing trachea.

If you notice that your Chessie has any of these symptoms, we highly recommend that you seek professional help immediately before the symptoms turn serious, especially if your pet is small or old whose immune system is relatively weak.

Can You Diagnose Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough cannot be diagnosed using a single test. In most cases, it can be diagnosed if your Chessie exhibits the symptom above and has been around a lot of other dogs during the incubation period. 

Swabs can be used to identify the bacteria or virus that is causing kennel cough, though this information isn’t always helpful for treating the disease. Radiographs may also be used to assess your dog’s condition if there are any suspected complications.

But as long as there are no symptoms shown, and as long as your Chessie seems bright and energetic, your furry friend is probably fine, and there’s no reason to be worried. 

How to Treat Kennel Cough in Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

A week or two of rest is usually enough to treat mild cases of kennel cough. However, your vet may recommend cough medication to relieve the symptoms and antibiotics to avoid secondary infection.

If your Chessie is affected by the disease, you shouldn’t walk it using a collar since tracheal irritation can harm the trachea and aggravate the cough. A harness would be the best option to walk your dog in this case. 

Is Kennel Cough A Vaccine-Preventable Disease?

Yes. The most frequent cause of kennel cough, the bordetella bacterium, has a vaccine that you can get to protect your Chessie from kennel cough. 

Your dog can benefit from this non-core vaccine if it plays dog sports, visits doggie daycare, or gets exposed to many dogs. The vaccine is available in intranasal, injectable, and oral forms.

Is It Necessary to Have Your Chessie Vaccinated?

A Chessie who spends time around other dogs outside of their home is at risk of contracting kennel cough because of how contagious this respiratory disease is. 

Moreover, there are a lot of facilities that require proof of Bordetella vaccination to permit entry. Your dog may not require this proof if it doesn’t go outside and meet new furry friends very often. 

However, because kennel cough can spread easily, your vet may still recommend getting your dog vaccinated. 

Fortunately, kennel cough doesn’t lead to death. However, in pups, older dogs, and dogs with impaired immune systems, it can cause serious complications if left untreated.

The Bottom Line

Kennel cough is a contagious respiratory disease that can affect all dog breeds, including Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. 

While this disease is usually not fatal and could be treated easily, you shouldn’t leave your Chessie with kennel cough without treatment if you want to avoid serious complications, especially if your poor pooch has a weak immune system that can’t fight the disease. 

We also recommend having your pet vaccinated if it’s energetic and sociable who likes to make new friends.

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