Dr. James - Veterinary Professional

How is kennel cough treated?

If your dog is diagnosed with kennel cough, your veterinarian will most likely prescribe oral antibiotics. Common antibiotics used in the treatment of kennel cough are amoxicillin, amoxicillin-clavulanate (Clavamox┬«), azithromycin, trimethoprim-sulfonamide, doxycycline, enrofloxacin (Baytril┬«), or chloramphenicol, among others. In severe cases, gentamicin, amikacin, cefazolin, may be used. Your vet will chose the best treatment based on the severity of your dog’s illness, antibiotic tolerance, and test results.

In addition to antibiotics, your veterinarian may prescribe a cough suppressant. This could be in the form of a glucocorticoid such as prednisolone, a narcotic cough suppressant such as hydrocodone, or a bronchodilator such as theophylline or aminophylline. Alternately, your veterinarian may recommend an over-the-counter cough suppressant like Robitussin. Although it is generally safe to give dogs Robitussin, never administer any medication to your pets without first consulting your veterinarian.

In a severe case, your dog may require nebulization therapy, which uses a small machine to administer medication in the form of a mist that is inhaled directly into the lungs. In most cases of kennel cough, nebulization is not necessary. It is usually only required in dogs that do not respond to antibiotic therapy or in cases that have progressed to pneumonia.

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