September 19, 2009

Kennel Cough, or Bordatella is a pesky infection similar to a canine cold, which usually lasts for one to two weeks. It can be picked up by a pup who’s in close proximity to another dog who’s infected – either in closed quarters such as a boarding facility, or at dog parks, dog beaches or other areas where lots of canines congregate together.

Many milder cases of Kennel Cough can be treated at home with herbs and homeopathics, under the guidance of a holistic veterinarian. A trip to the vet may be necessary for persistent cases lasting more than a couple of weeks, or where the dog becomes weak with a loss of appetite or any other signs of discomfort.

Stress can make a dog more susceptible, so it’s a good idea to boost up the immune system prior to the occurrence of a stressful situation, if you can. Immune system support is also important when Kennel Cough occurs. Herbal immune-system enhancers include Vitamin C, Echinacea, Olive Leaf and Astragalus. Colloidal silver is another excellent supplement for immune system support.

Garlic is a great addition to the diet of dogs suffering with Kennel Cough. Peel some garlic cloves and place them in a glass jar. Cover with a few good lugs of organic olive oil and leave to infuse for 24 hours. Add a few drops to each meal.

Organic Unrefined / Virgin Coconut Oil also possesses amazing immune-enhancing properties. Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids that are anti-viral and anti-bacterial (as well as many other benefits). A dosage of about 1 to 2 teaspoons of coconut oil per 10 pounds of body weight per day can be divided into your dog’s meals to help combat Kennel Cough. Half this dosage can be used for maintenance of long term health. Use slightly less if any signs of loose stool occur.

Raw Honey is a great natural treatment that helps soothe the throat. Raw Honey also has antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal properties. A 30 to 50 lbs dog can be given about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of honey three to four times a day. Adjust this amount up or down depending on the size of your dog.

Homeopathic remedies for Kennel Cough include Drosera for a dry, hacking cough and violent coughing spells. The throat feels ticklish when Drosera is indicated, and pressure to the neck (such as from a collar) can trigger a bout of coughing. The cough may also be worse when lying down.

Aconite is useful in the very early stages, when signs of kennel cough (coughing, hacking as though something is caught in the throat), first appear.

Rumex Crispus is helpful for a cough associated with tickling in the throat, and which tends to be dry and persistent.

Spongia Tosta is most helpful for croupy, barking coughs which tend to improve with eating and drinking warm things but get worse from cold drinks. Spongia is indicated for a cough that startles the dog from sleep.

The information here is designed to be discussed with your veterinarian. If you have a conventional vet who isn’t familiar with complementary approaches, try the AHVMA web site to locate a holistic vet in your area. If you are concerned about your animal companion’s health or symptoms worsen or do not improve, please seek a veterinary consultation to rule out a more serious medical problem.