What is Kennel Cough?

What is kennel cough?
Kennel cough is more technically known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis. This term localizes the most common clinical sign, coughing, to the trachea (windpipe) and bronchi (within the lungs). It may be caused by several viruses and bacteria. These include adenovirus type 2, parainfluenza virus and bacterium bordetella bronchiseptica. The infection spreads rapidly from dog to dog in close quarters, such as a boarding kennel. This is the origin of its name.
 
What are the signs, besides coughing?
The symptoms of kennel cough are quite variable. They include discharge from the eyes and nose, swollen tonsils, wheezing, lack of appetite and lethargy. Although coughing is usually mild, it may persist for several weeks.
 
dog kennel cough symptoms and treatment
 
What is the treatment?
There is no specific treatment for the viruses involved. No drug will kill them, so they must run their course, which may take two to three weeks. Antibiotics are useful against the bacteria involved, although some resistance to certain antibiotics has occurred. Antibiotics can also help in preventing a secondary bacterial infection due to immune system suppresion from some of the viruses.  Cough suppressants are used to break the self-perpetuating cycle of coughing that occurs.  In extreme cases, some anti-inflammatory medications may also be necessary in decreasing inflammation of the trachea (windpipe) to help relieve irritation.
 
How can I prevent this disease?
Most vaccination programs include a vaccine against the parainfluenza virus and bordetella bronchiseptica. These should be administered to puppies and boostered in adults.
 
kennel cough treatment and symptoms
 
How effective are these vaccines?
Immunity after natural infection with respiratory viruses, like parainfluenza or bacteria like bordetella, is neither solid nor long-lasting. Therefore, a booster just before placing your dog in a boarding kennel is good insurance against the disease. At Prestige Animal Hospital, we recommend a bordetella vaccine every six months if the dog frequents kennels, dog parks, dog walks, groomers, doggie daycare facilities or just more interactions with pets of unknown vaccine status.
 
How are the bordetella vaccines delivered?
Bordetella vaccination is performed either by injection or intranasally. The latter means that the vaccine is dropped into the nostrils. This permits immunity in the membranes of the nose and throat where the viruses and bacteria enter.
 
If you have questions or suspect that your dog has been or could be exposed to Kennel Cough, contact us to make an appointment
 
This blog post originally appeared on The Drake Center
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