Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, commonly known as “kennel cough”, is a contagious respiratory disease that commonly affects dogs. kennel cough is so highly contagious that it often only requires a moment of contact between dogs for it to transfer from one to the other. It can also be spread from one dog to another through airborne droplets or contaminated surfaces like water and food bowls. If you came into contact with a dog that was infected with kennel cough, it can also be transferred to your own dog later on via your hands and clothing.
Dogs often contract kennel cough when they are in close proximity to a large amount of other dogs, typically in boarding and daycare facilities, large training groups, dog parks, and dog shows. Kennel cough is usually an easily treatable condition, but may more severely affect dogs that are either very young or old, or are already in poor health.
Kennel cough is not always caused by a single organism, and can be the result of many different infectious agents, including:
When a dog is infected, they will cough out viruses and bacteria into the air, making it easy for other dogs to become infected. After inhaling these infectious organisms, the lining of their respiratory tracts become irritated, which can make them vulnerable to other organisms. Dogs typically show signs of infection within four to ten days of contracting kennel cough.
Dogs that are affected with kennel cough will display many of the following symptoms:
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to report them to your veterinarian right away. Kennel cough, while treatable, is harmful to dogs, and the symptoms involved may also be a sign of more serious diseases, such as the canine distemper virus, collapsing trachea, bronchitis, asthma, heart disease, or canine influenza virus, all of which involve symptoms that are very similar to kennel cough.
If your dog has contracted kennel cough, he or she will need a couple of weeks of rest. Your veterinarian will most likely prescribe antibiotics in order to prevent a secondary infection as well as cough medication to treat the immediate symptoms. In more extreme cases, they may prescribe a nebulizer – a drug delivery device which delivers medication in the form of mist – equipped with inhalable antibiotics or bronchodilators.
If your dog has kennel cough, be sure to use a harness instead of a leash, as the irritation a leash can put on your dog’s trachea will only aggravate and intensify the cough, and can even result in damage to the trachea.
Kennel cough can be prevented with a vaccine, which can be given to your dog orally, intra-nasally, or injected, and is often given to your dog in two doses, two-four weeks apart. It is a good idea to get your dog vaccinated if he or she competes in canine sports, is regularly involved in daycare, or is frequently boarded. In fact, many daycare facilities make vaccination a requirement.
Dogs with this disease should be isolated in order to prevent it spreading to other dogs as it is so highly contagious. In fact, dogs may still become infected even after they have been vaccinated, although it will be less severe than it otherwise could have been.
Kennel cough often does not infect humans, but there have been cases in which young children and even some adults have contracted the disease.
Queen City Petsitting, your dog walking service in Raleigh, NC, urges you to be aware of the ways in which your dogs may contract kennel cough, and to familiarize yourself with the symptoms involved. Our furry companions deserve to be healthy and happy, and that all starts with the responsibility of their owners. By taking the steps necessary to ensure that they remain healthy now, you can prevent a lot of troublesome and expensive problems in the future.