Kennel Cough: What You Should Know
What Is Kennel Cough?
If you’ve taken your dog to daycare or to a boarding facility, you may have heard of Kennel Cough. Just like humans, your pup can catch infections and viruses from their surroundings. One of the most common diseases a dog can contract is known as kennel cough. Kennel cough, or Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious upper respiratory disease that is most commonly caused by the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria. This bacteria or virus is inhaled and attacks the lining of the respiratory tract which then causes inflammation. The inflammation causes irritation and leads to a dry cough. We think of kennel cough as the equivalent of a common cold in humans.
Kennel cough is most commonly contracted when large groups of dogs are in close contact such as in dog parks, multi-dog homes and daycare/boarding facilities. The infection is airborne which means it is spread through the droplets in the air when the dog coughs and then anything that comes in contact with those droplets. There is an incubation period from 5-14 days where your pup won’t show symptoms but can still spread to other dogs.
What Are The Symptoms?
The most common symptom of kennel cough is a distinguishably loud, ‘honking’ cough. Other symptoms include sneezing, discharge from the nose and eyes, lethargy, and a fever. Puppies, senior dogs, and immunocompromised dogs are more susceptible to getting kennel cough.
How Can It Be Treated?
Good news! Kennel cough is usually very treatable. It will resolve either on its own within a week or two or with some antibiotics prescribed by your veterenarian. Other viruses can have the same symptoms as kennel cough so if your dog seems to be getting worse, please take your dog to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
The Bordatella vaccine is required in most daycare and boarding facilities. This vaccine is either given every 6 months or every year, depending on your veterinarian. Although this is a required vaccine to help reduce the risk of getting kennel cough, it is not guaranteed to prevent the disease. There are other agents that can cause kennel cough and some Bordatella vaccines don’t protect against all of them. FYI: Your dog can acquire immunity to a strain once contracted.
If you have any questions about kennel cough, give your veterinarian a call.