'Kennel Cough' Is Not Always Treated with Antibiotics
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith

Q. Should kennel cough be treated with antibiotics?
 
A. In the most common, mild form of infectious tracheobronchitis (formerly called 'kennel cough'), antibiotics are usually not used in the treatment. If the dog has a good appetite and is alert, but suffers only from a recurrent cough, we will often let the disease run its course, just as we would with a cold in humans.

Overuse of antibiotics should always be avoided. More bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics; in fact, there are some bacteria which are virtually resistant to almost every antibiotic available. As a result, stronger and stronger drugs need to be developed, and there is always the possibility the bacteria will become resistant to these as well. If antibiotics are prescribed, be sure to give the entire prescription, even if the pet appears to have recovered. Not doing so may contribute to the development of resistant bacteria. This is bad news for both you and your pet.

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