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My four middle-aged collies are usually in good health. Late last summer, two of my dogs had kennel cough quite badly, despite being vaccinated and even the other two dogs showed some symptoms of a slight cough. They were not in kennels at the time, so must have picked up the infection from another dog we probably met on a walk.

All my dogs were treated with antibiotics, which upset their tummies. Is there any additional protection I could use and can kennel cough be treated naturally?

Tim Couzens advises…

Kennel cough is a multi-component, highly infectious respiratory infection that spreads easily between dogs. It occurs most frequently in dogs that are kennelled, as they are in close proximity to each other – hence the name.

One of the minor components – parainfluenza virus – is included in the regular vaccination, whilst vaccination against the major bug involved, Bordetella bronchiseptica, is delivered yearly by intranasal drops.

It’s a fact that not all dogs respond to vaccines as well as we might like, so may end up with limited immunity against the disease. In addition, I suspect that the virulence of the infection changes from year to year, so kennel cough cases are sometimes more evident or more serious in nature than in other years.

I have found in the past that homoeopathy can help both avoid the symptoms of kennel cough and can also be used in treating the problem, avoiding the use of antibiotics. To assist prevention, I would give each dog a course of the kennel cough nosode in 30c potency twice daily for five days at the start of the summer, repeating the course if any of your dogs are exposed to a dog showing symptoms of kennel cough.

In terms of treating minor cases, a combination of two homoeopathic remedies can help: Drosera 30c combined with Phosphorus 30c seems to work well if given four times daily until the symptoms abate. Of course, if your dog seems especially unwell then you should consult your vet for advice.

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