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Author Topic: Kennel Cough  (Read 1778 times)

Offline Bunter

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Kennel Cough
« on: December 27, 2009, 18:50:59 PM »
Kennel Cough (KC) is properly known as Infectious Bronchitis.  It is very contagious and affects dogs of all ages.  It is a mixture of viral and bacterial disease and passes from dog to dog by droplets, eg nose to nose sniffing.

It has been labelled Kennel Cough as it can spread so easily within a confined space.  It can be caught from anywhere though: kennels, dog shows, vet's waiting rooms or just out walking.

It results in a very harsh, dry, hacking cough and often sounds as though the dog is trying to cough something up or has something stuck in his throat.  The cough is usually worse when the dog gets excited or pulls against a collar.  Sometimes dogs cough so hard they bring up spittle or can even vomit.  Dogs can also run a temperature, go off their food, become lethargic, have a runny nose, etc.  Much like human flu really.

YouTube video of what kennel cough sounds like.  There are several others on YouTube.

Wet, wheezy coughs will not usually be kennel cough.

There are various strains of Kennel Cough, much like the flu virus in humans.  A dog can be given a vaccination against kennel cough and some boarding kennels or training classes may insist on it.  The vaccination is different to most others in that it is squirted up the nose, although there is also an injectable version.  The vaccination lasts about six to 12 months (depending on which vaccination your vet uses). Personally, I don't bother with vaccinations unless my dog is likely to be going into boarding kennels or dog shows often.  Also, once a dog has been exposed to KC they are less likely to develop it again.

While the cough sounds awful and your dog may seem very unwell, there is really no cure for it.  Possible problems may occur if the dog is otherwise unwell.  KC can damage the little hairs (scilia) in a dog's airway, so leaving it open to secondary infections, especially pneumonia.  This is where antibiotics are useful - for secondary infections.  Again, I don't bother with a visit to the vet unless the dog is otherwise unwell or the dose of KC is severe.  However, while kennel cough is quite distinctive, you need to be sure that it is KC as a cough can also be symptomatic of heart disease among other things.  If in doubt, always consult your vet.

Treatment to releive the symptoms of the cough can be given with cough suppresants, such as a childrens' cough medicine.

The cough usually develops within around five days of contact.  By the time you have noticed the cough it will be too late to segregate any other dogs already in the house.  They will already have come into contact with the disease.  Unfortunately this means that some dogs can go into foster or their forever homes and be unknowingly carrying KC.  The cough can last anywhere from around 5-20 days.

While your dog is coughing it's important that he doesn't come into contact with other dogs so as not to spread the disease.  I still take my dogs out if they are up to it, but in areas where there are no other dogs and at times where I am unlikely to meet any - usually around the pavements late at night.  I also don't clip a lead onto a collar but use a harness instead so as not to irritate the cough any more.

In my view, KC is just a cough and nothing to get worked up about under normal circumstances.

Stop the Cough.  It's a shooting website but a very good article on KC.

Another good article with a video here: Vet on the Web
« Last Edit: April 27, 2010, 13:46:57 PM by Bunter »