KENNEL COUGH

We learnt in our article about ‘cat flu’that it is not only humans that suffer winter ailments.
So this month we are going to discuss kennel cough and how it affects your dog.

WHAT IS KENNEL COUGH?
Kennel cough is an infection that affects the upper respiratory tract of your dog causing inflammation and irritation to the mucus membrane which can lead to tracheobronchitis.

There are many different factors that can make your dog susceptible to kennel cough but most often it is exposure to a combination of viral infection and a bacterium called Bordetella bronchisepticam.

HOW IS IT CONTRACTED?

Dogs become infected with kennel cough when they inhale the bacteria into their respiratory tract in much the same way that we catch flu or a cold. Although the respiratory tract is designed to ward off attack , there are times when it is weakened or put under pressure leaving it vulnerable to infection. 
 
If your dog is:

– exposed to crowded or badly ventilated areas such as kennels or shelters ( this is where it derives the name ‘kennel cough’)
– comes into close contact with infected animals- is stressed – induced by travel, boarding kennels etc
– exposure to cigarette smoke or/and dust can cause inflammation to the respiratory tract
– exposure to cold temperatures

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF IT’S KENNEL COUGH?
Some of the classic symptoms are:
– persistent , honking cough , you may think your dog has something stuck in his throat.
– sneezing , runny nose or eyes
– occasional loss of appetite

 

WHAT CAN WE DO?
Kennel cough is highly contagious so if you think your dog may have this condition it is important that he/she is kept away from other dogs.

Contact your veterinarian – they will be able to prescribe medication that will minimise symptoms and optimise your dogs recovery. Prolonged infections can lead to pneumonia, so be sure to keep your check up appointments. Even when treated for kennel cough your dog may take 2-3 weeks to fully recover.

VACCINATE!
By vaccinating your dog you are helping to protect him/her against all the major diseases such as parvovirus, rabies, distemper, leptospirosis, contagious hepatitis but also against para influenza which is one of the viruses involved in kennel cough. However, there are also specific vaccines that can be given to your dog if you think he will be in a particularly vulnerable environment. Most boarding kennels will request that your dog is vaccinated with one of these vaccines.

Intra nasal vaccine – is administered directly into the nose. This is a highly efficient vaccine and needs only a few drops to be effective. So don’t worry if your dog sneezes after the administration!

Injectable vaccine is also available , both of these vaccines protect your dog from bordetella bronchiseptica.

It is important to remember that, like human flu, Vaccination against kennel cough is not foolproof and there is still a small chance your dog may contract the illness.

REMEMBER!
There are many be other serious illnesses that can cause your dog cough such as heart disease. Always get your pet examined by a veterinarian if you are concerned.

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