Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Kennel Cough Cock Up: Kupo's Story

Story by Chris Onyett of Dog Help Network

When Kupo was just 6 months old, he contracted something that started off as a little cough. 


Our friends, and even the vet, told us that it was kennel cough, and that we should just let it run it’s course and it would go away naturally within a week or so. We thought this was odd, especially seeing that he had received a shot for this the previous week, but we agreed to give it a week like the vet told us.

Editor's note: I should take approximately 3 days for an intranasal and about 7 days for injectable kennel cough vaccine to take effect. Vaccines are for specific infectious agents, and so a kennel cough vaccine (bordetella +/- viral components) will not protect against all potential infections. No vaccine is 100% effective, even against the specific infectious agents.

It’s not easy watching your puppy in discomfort, and so after a week and a half we brought him into the vet again as the cough was getting worse. 

They told us nothing irregular was happening, and gave us some medication (pills). We gave Kupo the pills twice a day, and after another 2 weeks the cough was only getting worse.

Now that we had hit the one month mark, we were extremely worried. 


At this point we had done a lot of research on our own on Kennel Cough, and this seemed like something more severe. We also read that respiratory problems can be more dangerous in puppies, and in some cases cause permanent damage.

When we returned to the vet, they tried giving us another type of medication. However, we felt that x-rays were necessary at this stage, just to make sure there was nothing wrong with Kupo’s trachea.

The x-ray’s were done and nothing serious was found. 

This gave us a temporary relief; it was great to have something positive about this situation. We took the new medication and agreed to give it another 2 weeks.

After another 2 weeks the cough was much much worse, and Kupo started to cough up large amounts of phlegm. 

We tried several home remedies we had found in our online research, and some remedies such as honey seemed to provide him temporary relief.

However, the cough did not go away, and seemed to be getting worse.

This was the month and a half mark, and we couldn’t stand to see our puppy suffer anymore. 

We brought him back to the vet and believe or not, after another “assessment”, they calmly (or carelessly) tried to give us another random medication to “try”!

Furious about the time and money we had spent, and the complete lack of results, we decided to seek second opinion. We googled other local vets in Vancouver, and found one close to Grandville Island that had fantastic reviews. They were also almost twice the price, but at this point we had spent so much already, and just wanted our dog to be healthy again.

The new vet asked for the x-rays that were previously taken, and said that they needed to take their own. At first we thought that this might just be another vet trying to make more $$ from us, but we agreed.

The new X-rays were much clearer and, to our surprise, it showed a collapse in Kupo’s trachea!

This warranted the need for an actual throat scope, which was done the following day. The throat scope video provided enough evidence and information to recommend a medicine to directly treat the problem. We were hesitant to try yet another medicine, but we agreed to try it.

Within 4 days, Kupo’s cough was completely gone!

Our puppy was healthy again, and we couldn’t have been happier. Looking back at the money and time spent, as well as all of the suffering Kupo had went through, we felt we should share our experience somehow. This led to the creation of www.kennelcoughhelp.com, a simple website sharing our experience, research, and information on Kennel Cough symptoms, treatment, home remedies, and all other information we could find etc.

The goal of this website was to provide an online resource where people could come and find quality information on kennel cough.

Information that people should know, like how a kennel cough vaccination can commonly cause a dog to actually contract kennel cough! The Dog Help Network idea was born.

5 comments

  1. Awesome Jana! Thank you for sharing. Our old vet ignored kennel cough in Kolchak for almost 5 months. He kept telling us that Kolchak was just "puggy". One night he had a reverse sneezing attack that scared the pants off me (as a new dog owner, I had no idea what that was) and we took him to the ER vet in the dead of night. He was one sick little boy. Sadly, his lungs never really bounced back from it. Our new vet has been reluctant to put him under...even to neuter him.

    I thought I would mention that the KC vaccines aren't nearly as reliable as people think. Kol was vaccinated against kennel cough, but I later learned that the vaccine only protects against a few of the many viruses that can be referred to as "kennel cough".

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  2. Thank you so much for your comment. So sorry Kolchak had to go through similar situation; even more sorry he suffered lasting effects!

    One thing I love about our vet is that he always takes our concerns seriously.

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  3. The disease complex that we have called kennel cough in the past, is more accurately referred to as canine cough syndrome. Canine cough can be be caused by infections (bordetella broncheseptica, canine adenovirus, canine influenza, being the most prevalent), anatomical abnormalities (collapsing trachea, tracheal stenosis,) or environmental irritants. Vaccines are for specific infectious agents, and so a kennel cough vaccine (bordetella +/- viral components) will not protect against all infectious agents. No vaccine is 100% effective, even against the specific infectious agents and there is a time lapse between vaccine and immunity. Canine cough is usually easily managed medically but a specific diagnosis needs to be made as this is not a single disease process.

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  4. Vets have really advanced over the years and it just seems like they currently have so many more things to help our animals.

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  5. Dear Dr. Keith, thank you so much for reading and valuable comment!

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