A bonus August edition of Hillside's health news - ok it was supposed to be July's but there were so many pit stops on that it didn't quite make it onto the website as I didn't have enough office time! Apologies to Hillside who, as always, got it to me in good time!
Kennel cough, otherwise known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis (similar to whooping cough in humans), is an unpleasant and contagious disease of the dog’s respiratory tract.
Dogs of all ages can be affected and signs include a harsh, dry, whooping-type cough which may cause retching. You may also notice tiredness, loss of appetite and a slightly raised temperature.
Coughing can last for some weeks and, during this time, more serious complications such as pneumonia may arise and can even prove fatal in old, weak or very young dogs.
Passed from dog to dog by airborne droplets – a true case of ‘coughs and sneezes spread diseases’ – and direct nose to nose contact, dogs are at risk whenever they gather together. For example, this could be at boarding kennels, dog shows and training classes or even when just out on a walk when meeting and greeting other dogs.
Prevention is better than cure - without vaccination treatment of kennel cough can be a costly and lengthy process, involving isolation for your dog and antibiotic therapy. Many boarding kennels now insist that all dogs are vaccinated against kennel cough prior to admission, so if your dog is likely to be in contact with other dogs, particularly if you board your pet over the summer holidays, you should seriously consider vaccination.
At Hillside Vets we use an intranasal vaccine, which is very easy to administer and offers protection for a full 12 months. It can be given to dogs of any shape, size and age, including puppies from three weeks of age and provides protection in just 72 hours. Speak to your own vet to find out their vaccine protocol for kennel cough.
For further information, visit www.future-of-vaccination.co.uk/kennel-cough-dogs.asp.
Chris Devlin BVSc MRCVS is a Vet and Partner at Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen.