What is Kennel Cough?
As mild influenza is to humans, kennel cough is to dogs.
Kennel cough, also known as canine tracheobronchitis, is a highly communicable dog ailment that inflames the upper respiratory system. Though seldom critical when it inflicts, kennel cough may lead to a deeper health problem, like pneumonia, if left untreated. It is caused by both viral (canine distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza virus, or respiratory coronavirus), and bacterial infections (Bordetella bronchiseptica); and so named kennel cough because of its capability to be transmitted very quickly.
Both the viral and bacterial contagions are spread through direct interaction with the infected animal; contact from one dog to another in close quarters, such as kennels and veterinary office; in the air through the droplets emitted in sneezing and coughing of infected dogs, and; through contaminated objects and surfaces.
Symptoms of kennel cough
Symptoms of kennel cough range from persistent honking, dry, and harsh cough; sneezing, gagging, or snorting after an exercise; to belching out considerable quantity of white discharges after a coughing blow. Vomiting may also occur, albeit very seldom and only when there is acute infection.
Unless the dog is very young and vulnerable, kennel cough is generally an ordinary and unthreatening occurrence in a dog’s life, and may just go away within a short period. But in case it is deemed necessary, oral antibiotics would be a remedy. However, if coughing persists longer than three to four weeks, it is no longer advisable to let the cough run its course because it might harm the animal’s trachea. It is recommended to bring your pet dog to the veterinarian or animal hospital for appropriate treatment and x-ray.
On the other hand, a pet owner should be alert for infection or ailment in the neighbourhood or even in his own household, and make sure that his healthy pets be kept away from infected ones. If the infection, however, is in his own pets, he should be quick to isolate the sick pets from the rest. Likewise, it is very important and necessary to observe proper hygiene in and around your pet’s area.
Nevertheless, there is no better way to prevent your pets from ailment than to get them vaccinated. There are two types of vaccines for kennel cough that your pets can avail of: one is the intranasal vaccine, and the other is the injectable antibody.
The intranasal bordetella vaccine, which is sprayed directly into the dog’s nose, brings immediate immunity from the ailment since it goes straight away into the mucus membranes inside the nose. Pets as young as three weeks old are already eligible for vaccination, which should cover your dog safe for the next ten to twelve months before a booster shot is administered. This vaccine may result to only a minor and negligible side effect, like sneezing and runny nose.
Some dogs, however, are not comfortable with, and even resistant, to nasal spray; and so, the injectable antibody can be an alternative. The injectable bordetella vaccine contains a weakened strain of the bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria, which, by introducing it into the dog’s immune system, can boost its immunity to the microorganisms. This vaccine comes in two shots; each administered two to four weeks apart to booster as well as to maintain its efficiency. Dogs below four months old are not eligible for this type of vaccine.
The injectable vaccine for kennel cough, however, brings along side effects that include pain or soreness at the injection site, which may linger for a few days. It may also cause dog diarrhea and nausea.
But the popular saying goes: Prevention is better than cure. And, stress-free, too! So always watch out for your beloved pet and also kennel cough symptoms.