It’s fall. Besides the changing colors and cooler weather, Kennel Cough is another thing we expect to rear its ugly head every fall.
What is Kennel Cough?
Kennel Cough is the common name for Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC). It is seen in dogs in group situations such as kenneling, grooming, dog shows, dog parks etc. The symptoms include hacking, coughing, sneezing and retching.
So, what causes Kennel Cough then?
CIRDC can be caused by the following bugs:
Virus: Bocavirus, Canine Adenovirus Type 2, Canine Corona Virus, Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Herpes Virus, Canine Influenza Parainfluenza, Pneumovirus and Reovirus.
Bacteria: Bordetella Brochiseptica, Streptococcus Equi, Mycoplasma spp. and secondary bacterial infections.
My dog had the Kennel Cough shot but got sick anyhow. How come?
When we hear the term Kennel Cough, it is easy to assume the symptoms can all be laid at the doorstep of a single bug. In truth CRIDC is caused by a mixed bag of virus and bacteria that can attack your pet singly or together. The stress associated with animals that are housed or grouped together enhances transmission of the disease. All dogs are susceptible but unvaccinated, immune compromised and young animals are most vulnerable.
If my dog gets infected what can I expect?
CIRDC is often a mild, uncomplicated disease. Your dog may remain relatively healthy and energetic despite the ominous sounding cough. However, a more serious secondary infection can occur and cause pneumonia. Fever, lethargy and a productive cough are often the signs of more serious disease.
What things can a dog owner do to avoid infection?
Vaccinate. Studies have shown that animals who are vaccinated against kennel cough will not become as sick, even when their cough is caused by multiple pathogens. Please keep vaccinating.
When there is an outbreak, try to limit exposure if possible. Maybe this isn’t the best time to go to the dog show or dog park
Be nice. Keep your dog at home until 7 days after all symptoms are gone. Don’t spread disease.
What are things I can do if my dog starts coughing?
Common sense measures include, resting your pet, avoiding excitement, not using neck leashes and collars and limiting exercise.
Your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics, cough suppressants, bronchodilators, immune stimulating drugs and possibly steroids depending on symptoms. This will vary based on how sick your dog is and the individual practitioner.