Kennel cough is a respiratory infection caused by a number of bacteria and viruses.
It is not considered a fatal condition – in healthy dogs symptoms should clear up within a couple of weeks without treatment. Extra precautions should be taken with dogs that are considered as immune compromised. This includes puppies, geriatric dogs and those with a history of respiratory conditions.
The most common symptom of kennel cough is a hacking cough, which will often sound like your dog has something stuck in their throat. Sometimes the cough may be followed by a gag, swallowing motion or mucus production. Some dogs may also have additional symptoms such as a runny nose, eye discharge and sneezing.
How kennel cough is spread
Kennel Cough is airborne and highly contagious. Despite the name, kennel cough is most commonly caught in parks and popular dog walking areas, rather than in kennels. Kennel cough has an incubation period of 2-14 days, and some dogs can be carriers of the infection for months without showing any clinical signs.
If your dog is bright, eating well and playful then a visit to the vets may not even be necessary. However, it is advised to still contact your vet for advice if you are concerned that your dog may have kennel cough. In most cases, kennel cough should clear up within 2-3 weeks without the need for antibiotics. However, in some cases can linger for as long as six weeks. As kennel cough is a highly contagious infection, it is advised that you keep your dog away from other dogs while they are still coughing. To aid recovery, make sure your home is well ventilated and avoid using a collar and lead – a harness and lead will cause less pressure on the windpipe.
Some of the viruses that cause kennel cough are included in your dogs annual booster. These are canine adenovirus type 2, canine parainfluenza virus, canine distemper and canine influenza.
The most common cause of kennel cough – bordetella bronchiseptica, is not part of the annual booster and must be given as a separate vaccine. However, there are many different strains of infection, therefore protection is not guaranteed but at the very least should lessen symptoms.
The nasal vaccine can be given to dogs as young as 3 weeks of age and provides protection for 12 months.
If you require any further information about kennel cough; please don’t hesitate to call and speak to one of the Elm House Team.