Canine Cough – Eureka Boarding Kennels and Cattery, Ballarat

April 22, 2016

What is Canine Cough?
Canine Cough (or Kennel Cough as it is sometimes improperly called) is a highly contagious respiratory disease of dogs. It is caused by viruses such as parainfluenza, by bacteria such as Bordatella or a combination of both. The virus is aerosol by nature (spread via moisture droplets in the air) and, as such difficult to control in much the same way as the ‘human’ flu virus. It has an incubation period of 3-10 days from first contact with the disease until symptoms emerge. An infected dog will normally sound much worse than the disease is likely to be.

What are the symptoms?
An infected dog will develop a harsh, hacking cough which sounds like they have something caught in their throat. It can sometimes be accompanied by sneezing and nasal discharge. The dog may also cough up mucus during a coughing bout. The cough is exacerbated by exercise, excitement or by pressure on the throat by a collar. In severe cases, loss of appetite, fever and lethargy may occur, however most affected dogs will have no change in their behaviour apart from the cough.

How is it treated?
A visit to your vet will be required to rule out other possible conditions and to determine the severity of the illness. In most cases, the vet will prescribe a course of antibiotics to prevent secondary infections. A cough suppressant may also be prescribed in some cases. In most instances, an infected dog will begin to improve within 7-10 days but may display symptoms for up to 3 weeks.

How is it transmitted?
The disease is airborne and is spread during a coughing bout. Your dog can become infected on its regular walk through the streets or in its own backyard without ever coming into direct contact with other dogs. However, the disease is more likely to be spread where there is a large concentration of dogs such as in parks, at dog shows, at your local vet clinic or in a boarding facility.

Can the boarding kennels prevent my dog from being infected?
Even the very best kennel is not immune from an outbreak of Canine Cough. Because of the nature of the disease, it is very difficult to control/contain the disease. The best form of prevention of a major outbreak is to ensure all dogs boarding are vaccinated against both forms of the disease.

What can I do to assist prevent my dog from being infected?
The best form of prevention is vaccination. Vaccinating against Canine Cough will involve either an additional injection or an ‘intra-nasal’ dose of the vaccine whereby the vaccine is administered directly into the dog’s nostrils. Whilst vaccination is not a guarantee that your dog will not be infected at some stage by Canine Cough, it is believed that a vaccinated dog will have less severe symptoms and recover more quickly than it would had it not been vaccinated.

What should I do now?
Next time your dog is due for its annual vaccination and check-up, request a C5 vaccination that covers Canine Cough in both its viral and bacterial forms. Most dog obedience clubs and boarding kennels now insist on a C5 vaccination.

Should you have any queries relating to Canine Cough or any other illness which may affect your dog, you should consult your veterinarian.

To print a copy of this fact sheet please download the PDF file: Canine cough fact sheet