Kennel Cough-What you need to know, and how we can prevent it

August 17, 2014 • Author: Ruff Haus

It's been almost three years since Ruff Haus has opened its doors and within that 3 years we've been VERY fortunate that we haven't had any serious outbreaks of kennel cough at our facility. This year, the strain of kennel cough in our area is a hardy one. We've heard from several local veterinary professionals that they've been seeing more dogs sick with the Bordetella virus this year than in the past. We pride ourselves on providing the safest, healthiest environment we possibly can for the dogs in our care, but in order for us to do that we need your help

If you notice any change in your dog's health or behaviour please keep a watchful eye and inform your veterinarian if these changes persist.  Slight changes in appetite, energy level and overall behaviour could be an indicator that something is wrong with your dog. It is instinctive for dogs to not show signs of weakness, so more often than not if you notice something out of the norm for your dog, its likely something is going on that you may not be able to see (fever, sore throat, upset tummy etc.). Contact your veterinarian if you have concerns and remember, you know your dog best so if you think something could be wrong, don't wait for things to get worse before you call your vet.

If your dog has been sick with kennel cough or any other contagious illness, please be respectful of our 14 day policy and keep your dog at home instead of bringing him to daycare for at least 14 days afterwards. This allows us to ensure that they are no longer contagious to the other dogs in our care. No one likes being sick, and passing germs back and forth in the daycare benefits nobody. The last thing we want is for more dogs to get sick. You can find a list of our dacyare policies under the Daycare menu of our website.

Lastly, keep us informed. If your dog has any visible signs of illness please let us know immediately so that we can ensure we do everything possible to prevent that illness from spreading. Dogs experiencing any form of coughing, sneezing, vomitting or diarrhea while in our care will be sent home. If you haven't seen any visible symptoms of illness, but suspect there could be something going on with your dog, please let us know. We will keep a close eye on your dog while he is on our care and inform you immediately if we notice anything strange as well. 

The following article explains what Kennel Cough is and will hopefully answer questions you may have regarding the illness. If you still have concerns, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to answer any of your questions. You may also wish to speak with your veterinarian regarding the matter.



What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough, the common name that is given to infectious canine tracheobronchitis (Bordetella), is a very highly contagious respiratory infection among dogs. As the name suggests, it is caused by inflammation of the trachea and bronchi. This disease is found throughout the world and is known to infect a very high percentage of dogs at least once during their lifetime. 


How is it spread?

Viral and bacterial causes of canine cough are spread through airbourne droplets produced by sneezing and coughing. These agents also spread through contact with contaminated surfaces (water/food bowls, toys etc.) Most causes of kennel cough are highly contagious, even days or weeks after symptoms disappear. Symptoms usually begin two to three days after exposure, and can progress to lower respiratory infections such as pneumonia.   


What are the symptoms?

  • Dry hacking cough is the most common symptom
  • Cough may sound like honking
  • Retching
  • Watery nasal discharge
  • In mild cases, dogs would likely be active and eating normally
  • In severe cases, symptoms progress and can include pneumonia, loss of appetite, fever, lethargy and even death


How is it treated?

Antibiotics are given to treat any bacterial infection present. Cough suppressants are used if the cough is persistent and causing discomfort to the dog.


How can I prevent my dog from getting Kennel Cough?

Like any disease, prevention is key. You can prevent your dog from contracting this hardy infection by vaccinating for canine Adenovirus, Distemper, Parainfluenza, and Bordetella. In kennels, the best prevention is to keep all the cages disinfected. In some cases, such as "doggie daycares" or nontraditional playcare-type boarding environments, it is usually not a cleaning or disinfecting issue, but rather an airborne issue, as the dogs are in contact with each other's saliva and breath. Although most kennels require proof of vaccination, the vaccination is not a fail-safe preventative. Just like human influenza, even after receiving the vaccination, a dog can still contract mutated strains or less severe cases.

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