Kennel Cough

When summer comes to a close, many families rush to squeeze in one last vacation. Oftentimes, that means that man’s best friend will be boarded while his masters are away. Before going off to the kennel, Fido needs to be vaccinated against kennel cough, a highly contagious respiratory condition.

Kennel cough is believed to be caused by bacteria, called Bordatella. Infection usually occurs soon after contact with infected dogs. Affected dogs suffer from bouts of high-pitched, honk-like coughing that may last up to two weeks. They may also vomit, expelling a large amount of phlegm. Most dogs will generally not feel sick and will play and exercise normally.

There is no cure for kennel cough, except time. It is usually self-limiting and will clear up without medication. However, owners should be aware of possible secondary infections caused by the side effects of kennel cough. In such cases, antibiotics may be necessary and the phlegm must be expelled. This makes cough suppressants harmful while battling Bordatella.

Given the potential problems caused by kennel cough, the best treatment is avoidance via vaccination. There are two types of vaccines – an injectable and an intranasal. The intranasal is usually the better choice; protection is immediate as opposed to the injectable, which takes longer to have an effect. Dogs can be vaccinated for Bordetella as early as four weeks of age. Adult dogs should be boosted at least annually, possibly more, depending on potential exposure and a veterinarian’s recommendations.

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