Canine Cough

One of the public relations problems for boarding facilities today is caused by a much misunderstood disease in dogs called “Canine Cough,” tracheobronchitis, or often improperly referred to as “Kennel Cough.” As a dog owner you should be aware of some of the facts about this disease

What is “Canine Cough?”

Infectious tracheobronchitis is a highly contagious, upper-respiratory disease which is spread by an air borne virus. The incubation period of the disease is roughly 3 to 7 days. The main symptom is a gagging cough, sometimes accompanied by sneezing and nasal discharge, which can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Although the coughing is very annoying, it does not usually develop into anything more serious. However, just as with the common cold, it can lower the dog’s resistance to other diseases making him susceptible to secondary infections, and so he must be observed closely to avoid complications.

How it is cured?

Just as in the case of the common cold, tracheobronchitis is not “cured” but must run its course. Many times antibiotics will be prescribed to prevent secondary infection, and sometimes cough suppressants will be prescribed to reduce excessive coughing, but these medications do not attack the disease itself.

Does tracheobronchitis occur only in boarding facilities?

No. Since these viruses can be present anywhere, and can travel for considerable distances through the air, they can affect any dog’even one which never leaves its own back yard. Tracheobronchitis is more likely to occur when the concentration of dogs is great such as at a dog show, veterinarian, pet shops or boarding facilities. Dogs can also be exposed while running loose, while being walked near other dogs or playing in the park.

Are these viruses a constant problem?

No. Tracheobronchitis, like the flu is often seasonal. It also tends to be epidemic. When veterinarians begin to see cases, they normally come from all over town and all different types of dogs. When the outbreak is over, they might not see another case for months. Your dog can get vaccinations to help protect them against parainfluenza and adenovirus type 2. These vaccinations are usually a routine part of an adult dog’s yearly check up. Puppies are usually vaccinated for these in combination with distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus in a series of immunizations. The vaccine Bordetella is not normally apart of your dog’s regular vaccines. You should have your veterinarian do this vaccination, especially if you plan to board your dog. It is important to note that the vaccines that are used to prevent this viral disease are made from one strain of over 100 different strains of the virus and therefore are not as effective against some strains as others. Some strains are not included in any vaccine; therefore, there is not prevention against them. These vaccinations are only to help protect your dog and are not 100% prevention.

Can’t my kennel prevent my dog from catching tracheobronchitis?

Unfortunately, no amount of supervision, sanitation or personalized care can prevent a dog from “catching” an airborne virus. All that a good boarding facility can do is to recommend immunization against tracheobronchitis, refuse to board any obviously sick dog, listen and watch for any signs of sickness and make sure that any dog requiring veterinary attention receives it as quickly as possible. Strangely, some dogs with parainfluenza alone may not appear ill, yet is contagious. So, at times it can be very difficult for owners and boarding facility staff to know a dog is sick. You have a right to expect your boarding facility to provide the best possible care just as a kennel has a right to expect you to accept financial responsibility for such care. Solid Gold Pet Resort is always devoted to your pet’s well-being