Kennel cough is a broad term covering any infectious or contagious condition of dogs where coughing is the major symptom.
It is also referred to as infectious tracheobronchitis, which describes the location of the infection in the trachea and small bronchial tubes.
There are several viruses and bacteria that can cause kennel cough, often at the same time.
The bacteria bordatella bronchiseptica is the most common contagious agent that causes severe irritation of the trachea and can spread in airborne particles as the dog coughs.
Dogs do not necessarily have to be in a kennel to get kennel cough, but since the incidence is higher in any concentration of dogs coughing on each other it was named kennel cough many years ago.
The typical symptom of a dog with kennel cough is a harsh hacking cough or a “goose honk.”
They cough easily when the neck is rubbed or massaged.
The cough may persist for several weeks in some dogs.
The treatment for kennel cough is aimed at the bacteria and involves the use of appropriate antibiotics.
Any viral component is usually self limiting. Often we use cough suppressants as well to reduce that urge to cough so the dogs are more comfortable.
The key to prevention of kennel cough in dogs is vaccination.
In recent weeks there was a new Bordatella vaccine introduced that is very effective and has the added bonus that it is given orally. Just a small volume needs to be placed in the dog’s mouth.
Other vaccines involve placing the drops in the nose, which dogs do not particularly like, or injecting them like other vaccines.
Any dog that spends time out in public or is in contact with other dogs should be vaccinated annually for kennel cough and with this new oral vaccine it is that much easier to do.
Feel free to call us if you would like more information.
Veterinarian and owner of Alouette Animal Hospital, email@example.com