Kennel Cough – A dog attending these classes has the symptons

What is “Kennel Cough”?

Kennel cough is a highly contagious canine illness characterized by inflammation of the upper respiratory system. It can be caused by viral infections, or bacterial infections such as Bordetella bronchiseptica

How does the dog catch it?

Both viral and bacterial causes of kennel cough are spread through the air by infected dogs sneezing and coughing. It can also spread through contact with contaminated surfaces and through direct contact. It is highly contagious, even days or weeks after symptoms disappear. Symptoms begin usually 3 to 5 days after exposure. The disease can progress to pneumonia if untreated.

What are the Signs and Symptoms?

Symptoms can include a harsh, dry hacking/coughing, retching, sneezing, snorting, gagging or vomiting in response to light pressing of the windpipe after excitement or exercise. The presence of a fever varies from case to case. The disease can last initially from 10-20 days and can return when the dog is put into a stressful situation which puts stress on the dog’s immune system. Diagnosis is made by seeing these symptoms; having a history of exposure is also helpful but not always found, as kennel cough is easily spread through contact with contaminated surfaces such as the ground, toys, pavements, etc.
On occasions the dog may run a temperature, go off her or his food, and become quite lethargic – similar symptoms to human ‘flu’.

What is the Treatment?

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 her or him. Attend your vets. Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent secondary bacterial infections which could lay your dog open to pneumonia etc. Tablets can be prescribed to attack the infection and reduce its effects.
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/shower with your bathroom door shut, and sitting in the steamy room with your dog for 10 – 20 minutes.
Sadly, Kennel Cough can frequently lasts for 3 weeks, and your pet can be contagious to other dogs for longer than that! All of this is why ‘prevention being better than cure’!

How can Kennel Cough be prevented?

Vaccination really helps. The vaccination is unusual in that it is given via the nose. This is due to the way the vaccination works. Instead of producing antibodies in the blood, it produces a local immunity in that the antibodies are produced in cells lining the nasal cavity. This means they are ready to attack the bug when inhaled. The kennel cough vaccination lasts from 6 months to a year, depending on the vaccine used by your veterinary surgeon, and will need to be repeated if a visit to the kennels is planned. Puppies can be vaccinated from just two weeks of age. The cost of the vaccination is about £23 but this would be cheaper if given as part of your annual vaccination program.

Can my dog get Kennel Cough at dog training classes?
The short answer is unfortunately “yes”; if an infected dog attends and is close to your dog or an infected dog vomits or coughs up bile, etc. on the field and your dog “sniffs” it shortly afterwards your dog runs the risk of infection.
Obviously no infectious dogs should attend the classes.

Should I get my dog vaccinated?
My advice is Yes; Kennel Cough is in the area and once it breaks out it can take months to die down. In fact I would advise all members attending the dog training classes to have their dogs vaccinated. The training classes puts lots of dogs close to one another for an extend time, just like being in a kennel!!!!!