Kennel Cough and Your Dog
By Dr. Avery Gottwalt
If you’ve ever had your dog keep you up all night with a hacking cough, you may have already experienced the discomfort that kennel cough can cause. Kennel cough, or canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is an infectious upper respiratory condition that usually causes a loud, hacking cough and is most often associated with boarding or other dog-dense areas (think dog parks, daycare, etc.). We have been seeing an uptick in kennel cough recently, likely because people are travelling often and therefore boarding their dogs more. Here are some answers to some questions you may have about this disease.
What causes kennel cough?
Many organisms can cause kennel cough, some of them bacterial and some viral. Most cases of kennel cough are caused by several organisms, not just one. Some of the organisms we see are Bordetella bronchiseptica (bacteria), Parainfluenza virus, Adenovirus type 2, Mycoplasma canis, and occasionally Canine influenza virus.
What are symptoms I should watch for?
Typically, patients will have frequent coughing fits, but will otherwise feel normal- eating and drinking well, normal attitude. Mild cases typically take 7-14 days to resolve, and often resolve on their own. However, cases can progress to pneumonia depending on the agents involved and if the patient has underlying health concerns. In this case, the patient may have fever, lethargy, inappetance, and even trouble breathing. Due to the wide range of clinical effects, we always recommend coming in to see your veterinarian so that they can assess the severity of the illness and listen to the lungs.
How is Kennel Cough treated?
Just as the symptoms have a wide range, so too can the treatments vary. If the patient is bright and their lungs are clear, no medications may be necessary. If it is severe and there is concern about secondary bacterial infections taking hold, antibiotics may be prescribed. Keep in mind, however, that antibiotics may not always decrease cough as viruses may be the cause.
How can I prevent this disease?
Vaccinating your dog yearly with the Bordetella vaccine is a good place to start, but does not always prevent the disease because it is only one of the many organisms that can start. If your pet boards frequently or is around a lot of other dogs often, we also recommend vaccinating against canine influenza. Limiting contact with dogs that are coughing and sneezing is also important.
My dog got the Bordetella vaccine but still got kennel cough- why is that?
Since kennel cough almost always involves several agents, a dog may still get it despite having the vaccine, as that only protects against one organism in the respiratory complex. However, the vaccine is still helpful since Bordetella bronchiseptica is still very commonly isolated in dogs with kennel cough.
If you have any questions about kennel cough or vaccination, just let us know!
Summer Safety Tips
Here are some recommendations to help keep our pets safe as we deal with the unique challenges the warmer weather brings.
Summer months are when our pets are at the highest risk for overheating and heat stroke. We recommend being mindful of the heat, especially for short muzzled dogs like English Bulldogs and Pugs. Keep them inside where it’s cool, offer water, avoid walking your pet on pavement or asphalt during the hottest time of the day and use sunblock.
Summer vacation and holidays are a great time for the family to get together and have fun. Please remember that our pet’s don’t tolerate high fat foods and be mindful of common human foods that may be toxic to our pets. Avoid feeding them table scraps as that can lead to vomiting or diarrhea. Pet’s can also get into non-digestible items like corn cobs, foil and kebob skewers, which can lead to serious illness if ingested. Please make sure that all trash is promptly discarded and pet’s aren’t given access to them.
We also recommend taking some extra precautions for pets that spend time outdoors-whether it's in your own backyard or visiting the local dog park or going camping. Keep an eye out for wildlife that can pose potential threat to your pet-such as angry bees and venomous snakes. Micro-chipping, name tags, photos and other forms of pet ID can be helpful in reuniting you with your pet if they become lost. Prevention for fleas, ticks, and parasites will help keep your pet healthy as well as keep those creepy crawlers outside of your home!
We wish everyone a happy and safe summer!
~Eugenia Tan, DVM
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Monday 7:30 am - 6:00 pm
Tuesday 7:30 am - 6:00 pm
Wednesday 7:30 am - 6:00 pm
Thursday 7:30 am - 6:00 pm
Friday 7:30 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Sunday 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm*
*Sundays~ boarding services only
Adams Farm Animal Hospital, P.A.
5502 Adams Farm Lane
Greensboro, NC 27407