This Holidays 4 Dogs article will look at one of the most infectious diseases in dogs – Kennel Cough. It is generally prevalent where dogs gather in large numbers, such as Boarding Kennels – hence its common name. Anywhere where there are large numbers of dogs, such as dog shows, or animal shelters – the disease is much more likely to spread.
At Holidays4Dogs we do not kennel dogs and we never mix dogs from more than one family at a time when staying with one of our approved carers. However, because kennel cough can be a worrying problem for dog owners, we have provided some information – including symptoms and treatment for kennel cough.
What is kennel cough and what are the symptoms?
The disease can affect dogs of any age and it is highly contagious. In addition, the illness can last for several weeks before the dog recovers.
Symptoms can be compared to that of whooping cough in humans. Dogs may present with a dry, or convulsive cough. The dog may also have a runny nose, or eyes.
If the dog is showing symptoms, he should be isolated from contact with other dogs and taken to a vet as soon as possible.
Puppies and older dogs are particularly vulnerable to complications such as pneumonia. This can occasionally prove fatal, so early intervention is important.
The disease is caused by a number of bacterial and viral agents including Bordetella Bronchiseptica and Canine Parainfluenza virus.
How can my dog catch the disease?
Dogs contract Kennel cough via airborne droplets. Direct contact, coughing and sneezing and nose to nose contact between affected dogs is how the disease spreads. Places such as dog shows, training classes and even veterinary waiting rooms can be hot spots for the spread of the disease.
How can I prevent my dog contacting Kennel Cough?
If your dog is likely to be in close contact with other dogs, it is advisable to vaccinate your dog. Home boarding establishments will require your dog to be vaccinated.
However, there are many different strains of the virus and vaccination cannot cover all. Therefore, full protection against every strain of kennel cough cannot be guaranteed.
What can be done if my dog contracts kennel cough?
In milder form, this presents as an irritating cough. However, more severe forms of the disease, can be unpleasant and distressing for both dog and owner.
Very mild cases can clear up in seven to ten days without medication. As long as the dog remains alert and is eating and drinking normally, usually no intervention is required, other than keeping the dog comfortable.
Severe infections can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs. Antibiotics are not usually prescribed, as kennel cough is virus and antibiotics don’t work against viruses.
Do not take your dog into public places where there may be lots of other dogs. Always allow a good number of weeks for the disease to clear before returning to areas where the dog population is high.