A few years ago one of my dogs came back from a flyball tournament with a funny, hacking cough. After checking some flyball group emails, it was confirmed that there was kennel cough circulating around the tournament that weekend. I have a household of 6 performance dogs – one of which is an older, immune compromised female. I did NOT want to have kennel cough circulating though my house. If you've never experienced this lovely, upper respiratory condition, it is most noticeable by a dog with a constant dry, hacking cough. It is aggravated by activity – playing or running and usually persists for 10-14 days.
I called my holistic vet (I didn't want to take him since it is airborne and highly contagious) and asked what course of treatment I should follow and they said to naturally boost his immune system, separate him from the rest of the dogs and keep him very quiet. This is a 4 year old border collie built for flyball – how was this going to work?
For over 11 years, I've fed a natural raw diet, kept my vaccines at a minimum, and am very careful to observe the immune system of my dogs. I have not vaccinated for the kennel cough for many years and have not had an outbreak, until then. I really didn't want my other dogs to get this, but figured it was inevitable. Typical treatment for this is to put the dog on a course of anti-biotics and cough suppressants and keep them quiet and away from the other dogs.
I had just read an article about the Thieves essential oil blend and learned it was highly anti-viral and anti-bacterial and very effective against airborne illnesses. So I started diffusing the Thieves blend (containing Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus & Rosemary) and started him on NingXia Red. I used about 20 drops of the Thieves in the diffuser and kept it running the whole time. I gave him about 3 cc's of NingXia Red twice a day and kept him separated from the rest of the crew, but still in the same house and on the same ventilation system. I was pretty certain he would infect the rest of the house.
After the first day, his very annoying, dry, hacking cough was diminishing quickly. I was encouraged. After 48 hours, it was almost totally gone. Yay! Within 3-4 days, there was no cough at all and much to my surprise, no one in the house was coughing either. Hmmm, there might be something to these oils? Since kennel cough is still highly contagious days if not weeks after exposure, I continued to diffuse the Thieves oil for a month following the outbreak. I also cleaned all the bedding, bowls and buckets with the Thieves cleaner.
Since then, every time I go to a trial or tournament (especially when we are crating indoors), I carry my small spray bottle of Thieves and spray it in their crates throughout the day. I also am very careful to evaluate their immune system prior to these types of events. Even with doing this, about 2 years later, I had another (different) dog come back with the same hacking symptoms. This time I knew just what to do. I started diffusing the Thieves oil right away and began changing his supplements to boost his immune system. I decided not to separate him but relied on the diffusing to keep the airborne "ickies" away. Much to my surprise, the coughing lasted only about 1/2 a day and it never returned. Again, no one else in the house got it either.
I'm now much more diligent with my Thieves spray and keeping things clean. Nice side effect of using the Thieves spray in a room with other dogs – it smells really nice. Many people come over and say – "what smells so good over here." I reply with "It's an immune booster for my dogs!"
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