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Boxer with kennel cough.

Species: Dog
Breed: Boxer
Age: 1-2 years
I adopted Shelby from a shelter. She has the kennel cough and I am treating her with doxycycline. She is still coughing but I have only treated her for 2 days.
My question is: She is breathing rapidly and panting alot. She doesn't want to drink water. I checked her temperature and it is 101.8. Should I be concerned?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Sorry to hear that Shelby has kennel cough! We've been seeing a lot of this lately and it can be very frustrating!

Kennel cough is a virus and it will take a few days (sometimes a few weeks) for a dog to clear it. The doxycycline that was prescribed is mostly to prevent against a bacterial infection that is secondary to the virus. But, the doxycycline won't directly stop the coughing.

Her temperature is normal, so this is good. How is her appetite? Is she eating ok?

It's a little unusual for a dog to not want to drink because of kennel cough. You may want to experiment with offering her water that is warmed a little, or even really cold water, or trying water in different types of containers to see if that will encourage her to drink. However, if she is eating then I'm not too concerned about her not eating. If she is not eating at all then it may be a good idea to have her checked out again.

It's hard to talk about her breathing without actually seeing her. If she is panting a little bit more than usual then this is not a big concern. But if she is really having breathing issues this could be a sign that there is something more serious going on. If you think she is really uncomfortable with her breathing it may be a good idea to have her checked out and possibly xrayed.

I hope she is ok!

Dr. Marie.




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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Dr. Marie,
Thank you so much for your reply. Shelby came to me with numerous problems such as dehydration, very skinny body, and the kennel cough. I had to rescue her though. She is such a sweet loving dog.
She is eating a little bit. I am feeding her puppy food at the moment to try to get some weight on her body. You can see her ribs through her skin. She is drinking a little bit more today. She had a terrible night last night though, coughing all night long.
I am giving her a little Children's RObitussin for her cough. I was told that it might help calm it some.
Thank you so much for your help.
Jennifer McNulty


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, poor girl.

I don't usually recommend human cough medicine for dogs - mostly because we don't know what kind of effects the medicine can have on dogs. Most likely it won't hurt though.

I usually like to prescribe a medication called hycodan which is really good at helping stop coughing. It may be worthwhile calling your vet to see if they can prescribe some for you.

One other thought...do we know for sure that this is kennel cough? Boxers can be prone to heart problems which could account for coughing and weight loss. It may be a good idea to have some xrays done.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.