Kennel Cough

The winter is upon us, we are all facing diseases such as flu and head cold. Did you know you that dogs can also catch a cold? Dogs cold is called “infectious Tracheobrinchitis” or more commonly “Kennel Cough”. This disease is an inflammation of the respiratory system, including the nose , the Trachea (wind pipe) and the Bronchi ( The branches of the wind pipe in the lungs).
It is caused by a complex of Viruses and bacteria with a dominance of bacteria by the name of “Bordetella Bronchoseptica”. This infection is typical to/for ? dogs only. People can not get the infection from dogs nor do cats. The disease is highly contagious. The transmission of the infection is aerosal, this means that the causative agents are found in the air and dogs do not to be in contact in order to get infected.
The disease is very common to be found in places with large number of dogs of dogs such as animal shelters, boarding facilities or even puppy training classes.
The most common symptom of the disease id dry hacking cough followed by motions that are resemble vomiting and production of a white, foamy discharge. Runny nose and eyes infection are also commonly seen. The disease is typically self limiting in an healthy dog, but might get complicated in puppies, older dogs or dog suffering from other diseases that have weakened their immune system. If the disease complicates it might lead to pneumonia and other severe illnesses.
The disease is diagnosed by a physical exam. The veterinarian will also ask you questions about the history of the dog, trying to gather information that might support the exposure to the causative agents of the disease. Depending on the dog condition the vet might recommend further tests such as blood tests or chest x rays to assess the severity of the dog’s condition.
Depending on the medical findings the dog can be treated by drugs such as Antibiotics and Cough suppressants.
Fortunately there are vaccines available against Kennel Cough. The vaccines that are given to puppies, which later are given annually to adult dogs, contain coverage against the viruses responsible for the disease. There is a separate vaccine against the bacteria “ Bordetella Bronchoseptica” . This vaccine is given topically straight in to the nose. Vaccination cannot totally prevent development of disease but it will reduce the severity of clinical signs to a much more manageable level. The vaccine is recommended to any dog but especially to a dog that might be in greater risk of encountering the disease, such as prior to boarding or training classes. Some of the Boarding facilities will not admit unvaccinated dogs to their premises.
If your dog got sick, I strongly recommend to isolate him from other dogs till the disease has resolved. Its probably best to socialize your dog with other dogs in well ventilated places, best at the outdoors to try to avoid catching the disease.
Please consult your veterinarian about more information on Kennel Cough and the vaccines against it.