Symptoms of kennel cough include a dry, hacking cough and other forms of respiratory distress, such as retching, dry heaving, or sneezing. Dogs and cats with kennel cough will also typically have mucous discharge from the eyes and a runny nose. It is also common for infected pets to display lethargy. They may be unwilling to engage in their normal play activities, for example.
In some cases, the cough may be described as a “honking” cough that might sound similar to a goose’s honking noise. Kennel cough tends to result in a troublesome, persistent cough.
Non-respiratory signs of kennel cough
If the case of kennel cough is severe, the affected dog or cat may develop a low-grade fever. The animal may also show signs of poor appetite, eating less than usual.
Signs of complications from poorly controlled kennel cough
Most dogs and cats are capable of recovering from kennel cough in a matter of weeks. However, dogs that are older and those who have underlying medical conditions, such as those that adversely affect the immune system, may have a harder time recovering from kennel cough. These animals are at a heightened risk of complications from kennel cough, namely, pneumonia.
If the dog or cat develops pneumonia as a secondary infection from kennel cough, the animal will likely display symptoms such as coughing, difficulty breathing, fever, and lack of appetite. The poor appetite may persist to the point of demonstrable weight loss.
Additional signs of pneumonia may include nasal discharge, sluggishness, and rapid breathing. The animal may display exercise intolerance. In addition, dogs and cats who suffer from pneumonia are more prone to developing dehydration. If a vet examines the animal, he or she will listen to the lungs with a stethoscope. To lower the risk of transmitting infections, most vets use stainless steel veterinary exam tables – like those offered by TriStar Vet – which can be easily disinfected. This exam may reveal lung noises such as crackles (short, rough, snapping sounds) and wheezes (whistling sounds).