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Do you need to worry about Kennel Cough?

Today I’m gonna write about Kennel Cough…an infection that has been prevalent at times in our city. Read on to know some more about the symptoms, causes and possible resolutions to this common disease.

Kennel Cough is a fairly common ailment in dogs and is mostly seen in spring and summer. A talk with the vets confirms that the virus is “in the air” in Bangalore. If your dog does develop kennel cough, don’t panic! The way this illness operates is analogous to the common cold that we humans sometimes catch. Although kennel cough can sound terrible, most of the time it is not a serious condition.

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel Cough is caused by an airborne virus (parainfluenza) or bacteria called Bordetella which is highly contagious. Transmission of both the Parainfluenza virus and Bordetella bacteria occurs primarily by dog to dog contact or contact with aerosolized droplets (airborne transmission). The Bordetella bacteria resides in almost every dog, however a good immune system keeps the bacteria under control. A low immune system or stress can trigger bordetella to take hold and causes infection. Anytime your dog is in the vicinity of an infected dog, there is a potential for infection. The incubation period is 4-10 days, meaning your dog will not display signs of illness for 4-10 days following exposure to the virus. However, after the infection has been resolved, the affected animal will continue to shed the bacteria for 6 to 14 weeks and can spread the disease to other susceptible animals during that time.

People tend to associate it with dogs that have been in a boarding kennel. But your dog need not be in a kennel to catch the cough. The healthier the dog the best chance he has of getting rid of the disease fast, or not getting it at all. That is why the best thing is to build your dog’s immune system with a healthy diet. This is also the reason for not every dog in the kennel (or house) getting infected if there is an outbreak.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptom is a dry hacking cough. Your dog will start coughing a lot, with a sound that seems as if he has something stuck in his throat. He will usually cough up phlegm after rounds of cough. As long as the colour of the phlegm is light and he seems to be in good spirits, the disease will probably take its course and go away in about 10 days with good care. A watery nasal discharge may also be present. With mild cases, dogs continue to eat and be alert and active. If the dog still shows the symptoms of kennel cough after 3 weeks and if he becomes weak or has dark phlegm, then he will need to be treated immediately, as he has probably developed a secondary bacterial infection which could be fatal if left untreated.

What precautions do we take at Petspace?

  • All dogs are required to be vaccinated yearly for Kennel Cough

  • Kennels have very good ventilation and are disinfected with germicide daily.

  • Any dog that is found having the symptoms is quarantined immediately.

  • Food/water bowls are kept separate for each dog, in their kennel.

  • No common water bowls or balls or toys in the play areas.

  • If the parent so chooses, there is an option of not socializing the dog, but is given adequate time out in the open alone.

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