PET HEALTH ALERT – Kennel Cough

Pug coughing We have seen many cases of Kennel Cough lately and suspect it is going around the community.

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel Cough (also known as Canine Cough) is a highly contagious disease spread that can be viral or bacterial. It causes coughing, sneezing and occasionally vomiting. Dogs often sound like they have something stuck in their throat, or cough up white frothy material. 

Affected dogs are usually otherwise happy and well with a normal appetite and no fever.

How is it spread?

The worst part about Kennel Cough is that is is highly contagious. It is spread by direct dog-dog contact and is often picked up during boarding, grooming, day care or at the dog park. Infected dogs can spread the bugs for up to three months, even after they stop coughing.

How is it diagnosed?

If your dog is coughing, see your vet to determine if Kennel Cough could be the cause. There are many other causes of coughing, so it shouldn’t be assumed to be the case without at least a vet check. More serious heart or lung issues should be ruled out first. Usually a thorough physical exam is all that is needed to reach a diagnosis of kennel cough. If the exam is not conclusive, your vet may recommend further diagnostic tests to determine the cause the coughing.

How is it treated?

Most dogs recover without any treatment. The cough usually runs for about a fortnight. In severe cases, antibiotics may be recommended, but mostly this is not necessary.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

1) Vaccinate! Fortunately, there is a vaccine against Kennel Cough which helps to reduce the chance of infection. However, there are no guarantees, and some vaccinated dogs can still become infected. Vaccinated dogs usually have much milder symptoms and recover more quickly. The vaccine must be given every 12 months to be effective. Call your vet to check that your dog is covered.

2) Avoid high-contact areas such as boarding, grooming, the dog park or day care for the next few months until the outbreak settles down.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.


Dr Grace Woodward BVSc (Hons 1)