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Does Your Dog Have Kennel Cough?

October 5, 2018


Although a runny nose, sneezing and low-grade fever are common symptoms of the disease, an unmistakable honking cough is the most telltale sign that your dog has kennel cough. While Bordetella is the most common cause of kennel cough, other bacteria and viruses can trigger the condition. Kennel cough is an all-encompassing term used for the multitude of contagious canine respiratory illnesses.

Despite the highly contagious nature of the disease, kennel cough is seldom fatal and usually very treatable. Unfortunately, most of the symptoms of kennel cough are similar to those of canine influenza (viral) or canine distemper. The greatest danger lies with puppies and dogs that have a compromised immune system.

It is important to remember your dog can catch kennel cough even though they were vaccinated for Bordetella. In most cases, kennel cough will clear up on its own. To prevent the unnecessary spread of the illness, it is a prudent to inform your veterinary office ahead of your visit. You may be instructed to use a separate entrance to help prevent the spread of disease. Based on your dog's lab results, the vet may prescribe an aggressive treatment regimen as well as a couple of weeks of rest to prevent complications from secondary infections.

Consider Bordetella Vaccination for Your Dog

If your dog goes to doggy daycare, attends training classes, stays at a boarding facility, frequents dog parks or participates in dog shows, they are at a higher risk for contracting kennel cough and should have a Bordetella vaccination. Moreover, most facilities where numerous dogs are exposed to one another will likely require proof that your dog has a current Bordetella vaccination for admittance. If your dog is rarely around other dogs, or is still a puppy, you should seek the advice of your veterinarian regarding the need for a Bordetella shot.

Humans can contract Bordetella bronchiseptica, but it is rare. Although it is true that some dogs like to lick or kiss their owner on the face or mouth as a show of affection, the evidence that any human case of Bordetella was due to contact with an infected dog is relatively weak and circumstantial. That does not negate the possible affect of dozens of bacteria that also live in your dog's mouth. If your best friend displays any of the symptoms mentioned above or develops a loud bellowing cough, contact PrimeVET and schedule an appointment. Our caring veterinarians will provide a thorough examination and discuss any treatments or vaccinations needed.

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