Kennel Cough is a form of bronchitis that is similar to a chest cold in humans but can be caused by a virus or bacteria. It causes inflammation of a dog’s windpipe (trachea) and voice box, and though it usually clears up on its own, kennel cough is extremely contagious. In some serious cases, kennel cough can lead to pneumonia if left untreated.
A dry cough with a ‘honking’ or ‘throat-clearing’ sound is the most classic symptom. Sometimes coughing can even be followed by some gagging and white-foamy phlegm- these signs are often exacerbated after activity or pulling while on a neck-lead. It is not uncommon for dogs to also develop a fever and/or nasal discharge. Keep in mind that in many cases your dog’s appetite and energy level may not change or reflect sickness.
Kennel Cough Is Very Contagious
Kennel cough can be caught in many ways. It can spread directly from dog to dog, or through germs on contaminated objects. Kennel cough is often spread in enclosed areas with poor air circulation—Examples include: boarding in a kennel or an animal shelter, or through direct contact while sitting in a training class, vaccine clinic, or grooming facility. Young and unvaccinated dogs are also at higher risk.
Kennel cough is so contagious that your dog could even catch it from sharing a water dish or toy at the dog park or by simply greeting another dog. Most boarding facilities, including Pet’s Friend Animal Clinic, will not board your pet without proof of a recent Bordetella vaccination.
Kennel Cough Exam
If your dog is coughing and/or you suspect they have kennel cough, immediately isolate them from all other dogs and call Pet’s Friend Animal Clinic to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. When you arrive for your dog’s appointment, keep them in the car until you have checked in and can go directly into an exam room to minimize exposure to other pets.
Preventing Kennel Cough
The best way to prevent kennel cough is to prevent exposure. Vaccinations are also available for several of the agents known to be involved in kennel cough, including parainfluenza, bordetella and adenovirus-2. At Pet’s Friend Animal Clinic we can give your dog their vaccine in any of the following two ways: intranasal or subcutaneously. Intranasal is the most common route the vaccine is given and can be given to puppies as young as 3 weeks of age. Generally, we recommend that every dog is vaccinated to prevent kennel cough.
For more information, please feel free to call Pet's Friend Animal Clinic about any questions or concerns you may have at 408-739-2688.