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Kennel Cough - is your dog protected?

Kennel Cough, otherwise known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly unpleasant and contagious disease of the dog’s respiratory tract.  Wherever dogs meet they run the risk of picking up kennel cough and dogs of all ages can be affected.  Severe symptoms include a harsh, dry, whooping-type cough, breathlessness as well as high temperatures, sore throats and loss of appetite.  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, eg at boarding kennels, shows and training classes or even when just out on a daily walk.  The condition is caused by a mixture of viruses and a bacterium ­ Bordetella Bronchiseptica.  Although your dog’s regular booster vaccinations should provide protection against the viral components of the cough, only intranasal vaccine drops can offer protection against Bordetella.

Prevention is better than cure as without vaccination, treatment of kennel cough can be a costly and lengthy process, involving isolation 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 consider vaccination against kennel cough now. 

An intranasal vaccine is 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.

Make an appointment with your vet to ensure your dog stays healthy.  Remember: coughs and sneezes spread diseases!

Chris Devlin BVSc MRCVS is a Vet and Partner at Hillside Veterinary Centre in
Corfe Mullen.  w: Follow us on Facebook