A reader recently wrote in to Dr Carol to ask about her dog’s coughing and snorting. A short segment of the letter is found below.
My dog developed a cough a few weeks ago. The vet said everything appeared fine, and she recovered fairly quickly. Recently, the cough has returned and now she’s started “snorting” in what seems to be an effort to clear a blocked nasal passage or something. What do you suggest? Cough it be kennel cough?
A hacking cough is a cardinal sign of kennel cough, though most pets are vaccinated against this disease. Direct contact with another infected animal can result in the development of kennel cough. (Though most commonly affecting dogs, kennel cough can spread to cats, and rarely to humans!)
Most cases of kennel cough will resolve without treatment within a few weeks. Until that time, it is still difficult for pet owners to see their four legged family members hacking away at odd times. A herbal cough remedy that may offer relief from coughing due to kennel cough is slippery elm. One teaspoon ( 5 ml) of slippery elm can be given by mouth as needed basis to control coughing.
Should the cough not resolve on its own, pet owners should consult with their veterinarian a second time and ask for further testing to rule out more serious causes. Chest x-rays and blood tests will typically be performed to diagnose the cause of chronic coughing that is not related to kennel cough.