Friday, January 8, 2016

Kennel Cough and Pneumonia: A rough week

I haven't written much lately. It's because our household has been focused on Kennel Cough and Pneumonia. And Francesca has gotten all the attention.

One day, just before New Year's Eve, Francesca started coughing. She'd cough and gag. She just couldn't stop coughing so our owner took her to the vet. She didn't think that they could do anything as Kennel Cough has to run its course.

But once the vet saw Francesca he had an idea. He prescribed a cough suppressant that also would dry up secretions and help her with the coughing problem. We wondered if it was a good idea to suppress a productive cough but the vet explained that the coughing was irritating her wind pipe and unless it could be stopped, it would keep on getting worse.

When she got home she took the medicine and, surprise of surprises, it worked! Francesca was feeling better and was back to normal. Each time the medicine started to wear off, she started coughing again. The medicine she took was Hydrocodone-Homatropine, a narcotic. It didn't really make her sleepy. The downside of this medicine is that it causes constipation.

We made sure she stayed home and didn't come in contact with other dogs because Kennel Cough is very contagious. She is pretty sure she caught it at her day care because they said several other dogs had recently been sent home after they started coughing. Don't think for a moment that I wasn't concerned about my own health. I started worrying about catching it. Every morning I woke up and wondered if that would be the day I would start coughing. But so far, I'm OK. So far, I'm not coughing.

After a few days, things got really SCARY! One night, Francesca woke up and wanted to sleep on our owner's bed. Because she was sick and because she is spoiled, she was allowed to go in there around 1 a.m. In an hour or so, our owner noticed she was snoring. While that can be cute, it wasn't something Francesca usually did. At 3 a.m. Francesca woke up all congested, coughing and sneezing. She was having trouble breathing. Her breathing was fast and shallow and she gagged and mucousy stuff came up. Don't watch this video if you can't handle seeing a sick dog. SHE WAS VERY SICK!

Our owner got up with her. Francesca was getting really tired but couldn't curl up and sleep. She could lie down on all fours and held her head up to breathe. I was getting really scared and wondered what could be done since it was one of those days when the streets were all iced up.

Once dawn came, our owner called the vet and found out that he couldn't even get into the office until afternoon because of the ice. But he said give Francesca the medicine for coughing and keep her comfortable. She wasn't looking a bit comfortable but we did what we could. She wouldn't eat or drink. That wasn't like her at all. I kind of stayed out of the way. When I had my breakfast she didn't even get up to see if there was food for her.

Early afternoon the vet's office called and Francesca had an appointment. She was getting weak and so our owner had to lift her into the front seat of the car for the drive.
Here's sick Francesca in the front seat
on the way to the Vet.
Once she was inside the vet's office they looked at her and said she looked like she felt miserable. But they had a plan. Francesca was given a blanket to lay on while they got everything ready. First she needed an x-ray and a physical exam. The xray showed she had pneumonia. The exam showed that she was dehydrated. So the plan was put in place to give her IV hydration and breathing treatments which had antibiotic medicine in the solution. Our owner was sent away to buy some expensive antibiotics at a human pharmacy while Francesca got these treatments. (She also said they clipped her nails since she was so lethargic, she didn't care!).
Here's Francesca at the Vet's office lying on the blanket.
Here's Francesca in the hospital.
About three hours later, it was time to pick her up at the hospital. Francesca was feeling a little bit better and was able to hop into the car under her own steam. Once she got home, she had a small meal and she slept and slept.
Francesca spent a lot of time in bed.
The next day she was feeling a lot better. She was hungry! I was happy to see that. She scarfed down a big breakfast and got her antibiotic wrapped in bread and peanut butter. Because I was whining about being neglected, I got some bread and peanut butter too!

Francesca had to go back to the vet for two more appointments for breathing treatments. That was mainly because her oral antibiotics wouldn't really kick in for three days. She started feeling almost normal. She chased a squirrel with me and wagged her tail. She did take lots of naps, though and loved falling asleep with her head on our owner's lap. She was becoming a BIG, SPOILED BABY!
Francesca insists on sleeping with her head on our owner's lap.
So that brings us up today. She has quit coughing and so doesn't have to take the cough suppressant. She has to take the oral antibiotic for three weeks. And, at the two week point, she has to go back to the vet and get another x-ray to make sure her lungs are clear. But she thinks she's just fine.

It's been 10 days now since she came down with Kennel Cough. They say I can come down with it still. Sometimes it takes two weeks. SO I AM HOPING I DON'T GET IT! I am counting the days. I am praying every night. Please, St. Francis, don't let me get Kennel Cough!
Here I am praying to St. Francis
I wrote all of this because every dog with Kennel Cough has a different experience and different treatment. Here is what Fidose of Reality Blog had to say about their dog's experience. After you read that you'll probably wonder if Francesca and I had the Bordatella vaccine. Yes, we did. We had the oral vaccine. But we do know it doesn't completely prevent Kennel Cough.

Love, Cinnamon


  1. That sounds like quite an ordeal! I'm glad Francesca is getting better, and I hope you stay well, Cinnamon. It's certainly not worth all the extra attention to get sick!

  2. There has been a nasty strain of kennel cough going around in a lot of places even on this side of the 49th. Happy Francesca is feeling better and here's hoping you have a skookum immune system Cinnamon

  3. Sandra: cinnamon says she's a totally scookum coonie!


Thanks for your comment. Love, Cinnamon