Kennel Cough - Is your dog protected?

Kennel Cough is a very contagious respiratory disease of dogs.  It is mainly seen when dogs are grouped together, for example at boarding kennels, breeding kennels, rescue shelters and dog training classes.  In our area, it seems to pass from dog to dog contact on the beach as well.  While it is not usually life threatening, it can be a very unpleasant illness for the dog and owner.

Kennel Cough causes a persistent, harsh choking type cough, which often worsens when the dog is excited or exercising. Affected dogs are usually bright, and have a normal appetite.  Very young puppies or dogs that have other health problems may become seriously ill.

When we vaccinate for Kennel Cough, we are immunising against Canine Parainfluenza virus and the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica.  These are two of the most common causes of Kennel Cough.  However, there are other viruses and different strains of bacteria that can contribute to Kennel Cough. This means that a vaccinated dog can still catch Kennel Cough.

Vaccinated dogs ‘clear’ the infection much more rapidly than unvaccinated dogs, and show milder symptoms.  If a vaccinated dog gets Kennel Cough, they may cough for a few days whereas unvaccinated dogs may cough for prolonged periods over 3 weeks or longer.

We offer two different types of Kennel Cough vaccine; an injectable form and an intranasal form that is squirted up the dog’s nostril.  We will help you to decide which type is most suitable for your dog.

If you suspect your dog has Kennel Cough it’s best to bring them in for a check-up.  We will examine them outside the clinic to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.  Most dogs require antibiotics to help relieve the coughing and speed the recovery period.  Because Kennel Cough is contagious, it’s important to keep your dog at home away from other dogs until at least two weeks after finishing the course of antibiotics.