Kennel Cough

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Kennel Cough


What is kennel cough?
Kennel cough is also know as canine infectious tracheobronchitis. The term Bordetella is often associated with kennel cough and that’s because the bacterial agent Bordetella bronchiseptica, along with several viruses, contributes to kennel cough disease. This is an infection of the trachea (windpipe) and lower respiratory passages, or bronchi. The disease may also affect the upper respiratory tract, causing a nasal or sinus infection. Occasionally, this disease can lead to pneumonia, especially in weakened or elderly pets.

How to pets get kennel cough?
Kennel cough is transmitted through the air and is highly contagious to dogs and cats. When animals are in close proximity sneezes and coughs pass the bacteria into the air and then to other animals. Kennel cough is spread most often in kennels and boarding facilities, but dog parks and doggy daycares can also be problematic. In some very rare cases Bordetella can be infectious to people with compromised immune systems and infants.

What are the common signs of kennel cough?
  • Coughing, or a cough/gag/retch that may produce a small amount of saliva
  • Normal barking sounds may also be changed
  • The cough can be mild and occasional to constant, deep, and hacking
  • Runny/sniffly nose

How is kennel cough diagnosed?
Diagnosis is based on history, symptoms, examination findings, response to treatment, and sometimes blood tests or x-rays. 

How is kennel cough treated? 
Antibiotics are the most common treatment but depending on the severity, cough suppressants, medications to expand the airways, and anti-inflammatories may be needed as well. 
  • Use all medications as prescribed by your veterinarian. 
  • Monitor your pet's progress carefully and have him/her rechecked as directed by your veterinarian.
  • Separate any ill pets from others. Use separate feeding, bedding, and rooming items.
  • Wash your hands after handling to reduce the chance of disease transmission.

How can you prevent kennel cough?
Vaccination is the best prevention for kennel cough. Check with your veterinarian to see if your pet is healthy enough for the Bordetella vaccine and then make sure that your cat or dog’s vaccinations stay up to date. A proper vaccination schedule for kennel cough will depend on the age and health of your pet and the potential risk factors in your pet’s lifestyle. Visit your veterinarian to get all the information on the Bordetella vaccine.
Posted Thursday, August 13, 2015