With the onset of colder temperatures, the prevalence and transmission of infection and disease increases. This is not only true for humans (have you gotten your flu shot yet?) but for dogs as well. Kennel cough has gotten its name for being contracted mostly kennels and dog runs, where dogs are kept in high numbers and closed quarters. This is also why if you ever have, or ever will consider boarding your dog in a kennel, most reputable dog boarding companies will make this an absolute requirement (in addition to being up-to-date on all core vaccines such as DHPP and rabies) before taking them on. Just around the corner from us at Bickford Park, kennel cough has been making its way around. In this blog post you’ll learn about the origin of the kennel cough, what to look for if your dog has it, what and where to avoid, and how to best prevent your dog from this infection.
Kennel cough is an upper respiratory infection, that can originate from a variety of sources, such as the canine distemper and canine adenosine virus or more commonly from the Bordetella bacteria. Luckily, if your dog is current on their vaccination schedule (don’t hesitate to call your vet clinic and confirm this!), the DHPP vaccine protects your dog from the viral strain of kennel cough. This is why most kennel coughs originate from the bacteria Bordetella, because DHPP does not protect against this.
So how can your dog contract kennel cough? It is a highly contagious disease that is transmitted through sneezing or coughing, as well as coming into contact with contaminated surfaces. Even after dogs stop showing symptoms of kennel cough (more on that later), the virus/bacteria can still be actively infective to other dogs.
The symptoms you should be on the lookout for in your dog (and other dogs, so as to avoid any contact with them) include a hacking cough, retching, sneezing, snorting, gagging and occasionally vomiting. These symptoms take about two days to appear once contaminated and can persist for up to 20 days. Kennel cough is not to be taken lightly! However rare, kennel cough can progress into a lower respiratory infection and, on occasion, can be fatal.
While vaccination against kennel cough (the DHPP vaccine, which is a core vaccine, and the Bordetella injectable or intranasal vaccine) can reduce the chance of your dog contracting this infection, like the human flu shot, it is not a foolproof plan; dogs can still contract strains of kennel cough different from the one they have been vaccinated against. The most critical component of maintaining animal health in veterinary medicine is practicing preventative medicine and husbandry; this includes taking all precautions and erring on the side of caution. Ask your vet if the Bordetella vaccination is right for your dog!