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Kennel Cough

The term ‘Kennel Cough’ refers to a collection of highly contagious diseases of the respiratory tract. At least five viruses and a bacterium (Bordetella Bronchiseptica) make up the syndrome.

Kennel Cough is spread mainly through aerosol contact. That means that coughing, sneezing, and close breathing are the main means of transmission. It can also be carried on clothes, food and water bowls. One can see that wherever dogs are housed such as in pet stores, boarding kennels, groomers or animal shelters, it could be a potential problem.

Kennel Cough is a tracheobronchitis. The symptoms include a dry hacking cough, sounding as if something is caught in your dog’s throat. Rarely it can progress to a bronchopneumonia, where the dog becomes very ill, but that is unusual.

The disease syndrome can be treated with antibiotics, cough suppressants, and nebulization. Treatment can be long and frustrating.

Prevention of the disease is key. Vaccination is usually very effective. There are intranasal and injectable vaccines. Vaccination is recommended annually but should be done more often if the dog is to be placed in contact with many dogs. Some dogs can be silent carriers and shed the virus without showing signs. So make sure your dog is protected!

Vaccination is never one hundred percent protective. Sometimes immunity can break down or new virulent strains can arise. If your dog is vaccinated it will most likely not contract the disease at all; if it does, it will be a very mild form of the syndrome. The single most effective weapon we have against this disease syndrome is vaccination!

Provided by Ronni Tudin, DVM, MRCVS at Bee Ridge Veterinary Clinic, 3184 Bee Ridge Road, (941) 923-3100.


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