If you plan to board your Chihuahua, enter him into a dog show, or enroll him into puppy school where there will be a lot of dogs around it is probably a good idea to vaccinate your Chihuahua against kennel cough.
Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease. The disease is thought to be caused by bacteria called Bordatella. In general kennel cough vaccines are not necessary for house dog Chihuahuas that have little contact with other dogs. The greatest risk is if your Chihuahua is in any of the above mentioned situations.
If you need quick protection ask your vet about the intranasal (inhaled through the nose) vaccine. This type is also best for more immediate pet contact situations. The other type of kennel cough vaccines is an injectable vaccine.
What age is safe to vaccinate for kennel cough? You can vaccinate as early as 4 weeks of age. Annual and sometimes bi-annual boosters are available and may be necessary. This will depend upon your situation and your personal vet’s protocol.
Symptoms of kennel cough:
With such a horrible sounding cough you would think your little Chihuahua would be just lying around all day and night. This is not the usual scenario with kennel cough. During the infection dogs generally stay active and don’t feel or behave “sick. "
There is no cure for kennel cough. Prevention is the best way to handle the disease. Kennel cough will usually clear up in a couple of week even without medication. Dog owners which include the little Chihuahua owners should be aware of possible secondary infections, which may result in pneumonia. These secondary infections are the real concern behind preventing kennel cough. If pneumonia sets in antibiotics may be necessary to clear the infection. At this point you should not try to suppress the cough. The dog or Chihuahua needs to get phlegm out of its system. Clearing this phlegm out is the key to recovery from the entire mess of infection. Therefore, do not give your dog any kind of cough suppressant. The coughing clears the phlegm he needs to rid from his system.
Your little Chihuahua may become quite uncomfortable as intense coughing can be painful. You will need to limit activity to avoid “intense coughing episodes. " If he progresses to an infection, he probably will limit his own activity and will start to lie around acting as if he is sick and at this point he definitely is quite ill.
If you have other dogs in the house, kennel cough is quite contagious and they will probably get kennel cough too. To try and avoid this you can separate everyone and wash your hands after contact with each dog. Use bleach to clean areas where your sick Chihuahua has been.
Not all coughs are “kennel cough. " If your Chihuahua starts coughing and continues for more than 2 or 3 days without signs of improvement it is wise to take him to the vet for a definitive diagnosis. Also, if you see secondary signs of illness in your Chihuahua such as lack of appetite, fever, blood in phlegm or difficulty with breathing take him to the vet for an appropriate assessment and treatment as soon as possible.
It is important to not take your Chihuahua into situations where there are other dogs if he is diagnosed with kennel cough. All dogs are susceptible to the kennel cough. It is quite contagious. There is no one breed of toy dog that is more susceptible to acquiring the kennel cough. It is therefore advisable to keep him home from puppy school and all other situations in which there will be any other breed of dog around.
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Author: Connie Limon. Visit us at http://www.abouttoydogs.com and sign up for our helpful newsletters. About Toy Dogs is a guide to the selection and care of toy breed dogs. We feature articles, dog training resources, dog books, dog supplies and a toy dog breeder directory. Purchase a full page with 3 pictures, a 12 picture video and advertising in our newsletters for one year at rate of $25.