OK, so you’ve done your research and know kennel cough isn’t the big bad monster you’ve been led to believe. And the kennel cough vaccine does more harm than good.
Learn about three critical problems with the kennel cough vaccine, here.
But if your dog does get kennel cough, you’d like to make it easier on him if at all possible (after all, no one likes getting a cold!).
To help with that, veterinary homeopath Marybeth Minter DVM has some suggestions.
She begins with the first line of defense remedies…
“You could always use the second line in the first line, but some of the first line are the most likely ones that you’ll use in the earlier stages of the disease. These tend to be more acute remedies and/or polychrest remedies. Polychrests are remedies that are used widely, they treat a variety of symptoms that a patient experiences in illness, whether it’s a cough or a diarrhea, or whatever malady is coming their way. And it covers a wide range of mental, emotional and physical symptoms. So these remedies you’ll see a lot,” says Dr Minter.
Aconite: This remedy is used in the earliest stage of a kennel cough situation. The animal has a lot of anxiety, and may also be suffering depression and malaise. It is a dry hoarse cough and cold windy weather may be coming in.
“You can sort of intuitively notice something’s not right,” says Minter. “There could be a little warm head; they could be restless. Maybe the weather has changed to cold – sometimes that’s a keynote of Aconite. The cough is starting up, just starting.”
Belladonna: Your dog will be in a robust, excited and intense state. There will be warmth in your dog but no fever. He will have a dry, barking, spasmodic cough; thirstlessness; and a sensitive larynx.
“Think of it as something happening quickly,” Minter says. “They’re worse after midnight and the cough can awaken them from sleep.”
Lachesis: “One of the main keynotes of this in treating kennel cough is they’re extremely sensitive to their larynx,” says Minter.
Pressure from a collar, touching the throat area or even bending or stretching the neck easily brings coughing. There’s constant retching, and the dog will cough worse during sleep (so that it wakes him), after sleep and in open air.
“They sleep into an aggravation,” says Minter. “Going outside or going into open air can kick off a coughing spasm.”
Nux vomica: Nux patients are averse to attention and withdrawn. Since they’re usually chilly, they seek warmth and are better with warmer fluids. Their cough is worse in the morning before rising and after eating and drinking. It is a dry, fatiguing cough.
“They can be irritable, they can be snappish,” says Minter. “They’re very fatigued by their cough.”
Pulsatilla: As opposed to the nux dog, this patient wants attention – even already friendly dogs will show an increase in the desire for attention. His cough is worse when lying down. There may also be vomiting with cough, or expectoration of yellow mucus with cough. Especially in the older patient, cough with discharge of urine is possible.
“Usually they’ll want more attention and they’ll want to be around you, and like they need help,” Minter says. “They’ll really seek out cool areas as opposed to the nux patient and they’re not very thirsty.”
Other Remedies to Consider
Drosera: Dogs will have a whooping, spasmodic cough. It’s hard for them to catch their breath between coughs. They are worse in the evening and after midnight.
“Drosera is a big respiratory remedy,” says Minter. “There could be some vomiting of water with coughing.”
Phosphorus: “Phosphorus is usually for more advanced symptoms, but it could be a first line remedy,” says Minter.
The cough is worse at night and when going from warm to cold air.
“They have a hoarse, dry cough,” says Minter. “There could be blood in the expectoration. And the cough is often triggered by something going on in the house, excitement, running around, any of those treats being doled out could kick off a coughing spasm.”
Bryonia: These dogs will have a dry cough with little expectoration. The cough is better with warmer drinks and is worse coming from cold air to a warm room.
“The Bryonia patient in general prefers to keep quiet, they don’t want to move much. They sort of want to be stationary,” Minter says. “Their mucous membranes are dry… Things are just dry all about.”
Spongia: This patient is better with warmer drinks or food. His cough is brought on by excitement, he has a sensitive larynx and his cough awakens him from sleep. This is a constant, barking cough.
“Spongia is a big coughing remedy,” Minter says.
Hepar sulphuris calcareum: Here there is great sensitivity to wind and cold air, which can make the cough worse. Cold food and drinks make things worse as well. It’s a loose-sounding barking cough with mucus.
“Hepar sulph is usually reserved for more chronic treatment or maybe advanced lung symptoms,” says Minter. “There’s some mucus going on in the lungs, in the trachea, in the bronchi.”
Causticum: The Causticum dog is better with cold water and has a hoarse,
hollow cough. There may be discharge of urine in an older patient when coughing.
“The Causticum patient generally has a lot of weakness going on,” Minter says. “There’s hoarseness, they can’t bark, they can’t get the cough out.”
Now That You Have Your Homeopathic Arsenal
As you embark on your mission to keep your dog kennel cough vaccine free and healthy with homeopathy, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Careful with herbs. Minter says that if you’re treating with homeopathy, be careful about using herbal remedies alongside until you get a better picture of your dog’s symptoms.
- Avoid homeopathic combo cough medicines. These can do more harm than good, according to Minter.
- Inform your homeopath. If you are already working with a homeopath for a larger condition, let her know about your plans to treat the kennel cough on your own before you do it. This process may help with the larger treatment. “Often it can be a window into a very important step in your dog’s treatment,” Minter says.
Exposed But No Symptoms
One final situation you may be confronted with is that your dog is exposed to kennel cough, but there are no signs. Minter says to watch and wait.
“I would watch,” Minter says, “knowing what you know. Maybe use your nutritional support… a little more vitamin C… things like that. Vitamin A, up that a bit… Put in some more soupy things, liquidy things in their food. Just sort of watch and wait. You may not have a problem. But I wouldn’t give a remedy preemptively.”