Complications from kennel cough surface most often in puppies, elderly dogs, and immunosuppressed individuals.
The greatest potential is for the condition to progress to pneumonia, which, if untreated, can prove fatal.
Secondary bacterial infections are also a possibility because the small hairs or cilia of the respiratory tract will have been damaged or destroyed during the course of the illness.
This may trigger an increase in the body’s immune response leading to a buildup of mucus, which in turn blocks the sinuses and leads to a secondary infection.
Should such an infection spread to the lungs, pneumonia will likely result. As fluid builds up in the lungs, oxygen flow to the bloodstream is compromised.
Any series of complications accompanying kennel cough raises the potential for the dog to go into shock and die.
Always listen closely to the nature of your animal’s cough. With normal cases of kennel cough, the sound is dry and coarse. If pneumonia is present, the cough will be wet and heavy.