Kennel Cough

Printer-friendly versionInfectious Bronchitis – otherwise known as ‘Kennel Cough’, is a very contagious disease of the respiratory system, which affects dogs of all ages. The disease is caused by a mixture of viruses and bacteria, which pass easily from dog to dog as a droplet infection, wherever dogs congregate – in boarding kennels, dog shows, training classes, or simply out on walks.

Affected dogs typically develop a very harsh, dry, hacking cough, which can often last several weeks, causing sleepless nights and worry for all concerned. The cough can be so severe, that it often sounds as if the dog is choking! At the same time, the dog may run a temperature, go off his or her food, and become quite lethargic – similar symptoms to human ‘flu’. In immuno-compromised animals, kennel cough can sometimes be fatal.

But the good news is that Kennel Cough can be prevented. So if your canine friend is attending training or agility classes, or going to shows, then it is advisable to protect them against this disease. Conscientious boarding kennels will insist that your dog is vaccinated against Kennel Cough, and will insist on seeing the relevant paperwork before taking your pet.

The vaccine differs from your dog’s usual annual vaccination, in that it is squirted up the nostril, rather than being injected under the skin on the neck. In general we recommend that the vaccine is given at least 1 - 2 weeks in advance of attending kennels or classes.

If your dog is unfortunate in becoming infected with Kennel Cough, the first thing that you are likely to notice is a dry, wretching cough. Depending on how severe the infection is, your dog may also exhibit signs including :- lethargy, reluctance to eat, fever, runny eyes and/or nose and depression. Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for Kennel Cough. The most important thing that you can do for your dog once infected, is to rest him or her. Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent secondary bacterial infections which could lay your dog open to pneumonia etc. Coupage (patting the chest with cupped hands) and steam inhalation can both help the cough - the latter can be achieved by running a hot bath with your bathroom door shut, and sitting in the steamy room with your dog for 10 - 20 minutes. Sadly, Kennel Cough frequently lasts for 4 weeks, and your pet will be contagious to other dogs for up to 3 months! All of this is why we consider 'prevention being better than cure'!

Don’t take any chances with Kennel Cough – contact us now to ensure that your dog is protected by vaccination!