Kennel Cough

What is Kennel Cough?

 

Kennel cough is an upper respiratory infection affecting dogs. A number of pathogens can cause kennel cough, including viruses such as canine distemper, canine adenovirus, canine parainfluenza virus, canine coronavirus or Influenza A virus subtype H3N8, and bacteria such as Bordetella bronchiseptica. Kennel cough is so named because the infection can spread quickly among dogs in the close quarters of a kennel or animal shelter.

Just as human colds may be caused by many different viruses, kennel cough itself can have multiple causes. One of the most common culprits is a bacterium called Bordetella bronchiseptica m-- which is why kennel cough is often called Bordetella. Most dogs that become infected with Bordetella are infected with a virus at the same time. These viruses, which are known to make dogs more susceptible to contracting Bordetella infection, include canine adenovirus, canine distemper virus, canine herpes virus, parainfluenza virus and canine reovirus.

Dogs "catch" kennel cough when they inhale bacteria or virus particles into their respiratory tract. This tract is normally lined with a coating of mucus that traps infectious particles, but there are a number of factors that can weaken this protection and make dogs prone to kennel cough infection, which results in inflammation of the larynx (voice box) and trachea (windpipe).

These factors include:

  •     Exposure to crowded and/or poorly ventilated conditions, such as are found in many kennels and shelters
  •     Cold temperatures
  •     Exposure to dust and/or cigarette smoke
  •     Travel-induced stress

Symptoms And Diagnosis

Symptoms can include a harsh, dry cough, retching, sneezing, snorting, gagging or vomiting in response to light pressing of the trachea or after excitement or exercise. The presence of a fever varies from case to case. The disease can last initially from 10–20 days and can rebreak when the dog is put into a stressful situation which puts stress on the dog's immune system. Diagnosis is made by seeing these symptoms; having a history of exposure is also helpful, but not always found, as canine cough is easily spread through contact with contaminated surfaces, such as the ground, shoes, toys, and sidewalks.

Some dogs with kennel cough may show other symptoms of illness, including sneezing, a runny nose, or eye discharge.

If your dog has kennel cough, he probably will not lose his appetite or have a decreased energy level.In mild cases, dogs are often active and eating normally
In severe cases, symptoms progress and can include pneumonia, inappetence, fever, lethargy and even death.

Diagnosis is usually based on the symptoms and a history of recent exposure to other dogs. Bacterial cultures, viral isolation, and blood work can be performed to verify individual agents of the disease, but due to the characteristic nature of the symptoms, these tests are not routinely performed.

Treatment and prevention

Kennel cough is contagious. If you think your dog might have the condition, you should keep him away from other animals and contact your veterinarian.

Antibiotics are given to treat any bacterial infection present. Cough suppressants are used if the cough is not productive. Prevention is 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 Non-Traditional 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. When dogs have canine cough they should not be walked very far to prevent it from coming back.

Most dogs with kennel cough recover completely within three weeks, though it can take up to six weeks in older dogs or those with other medical conditions. Because serious, ongoing kennel cough infection can lead to pneumonia, be sure to follow up with your veterinarian if your dog doesn't improve within the expected amount of time. Also, if your dog at any time has symptoms of rapid breathing, not eating, or listlessness, contact your vet right away, as these could be signs of more serious conditions.

Vaccine

There are three forms of vaccine for kennel cough: one that is injected, one that is delivered as a nasal mist, and one that can be given by mouth. Although these vaccines may help, they do not guarantee protection against kennel cough or infectious tracheobronchitis, because it can be caused by so many different kinds of bacteria and viruses. Also, it is important to realize that neither form of the kennel cough vaccination will treat active infections.

The injected form of the kennel cough vaccination is typically used for dogs that are likely to bite. Puppies typically receive two doses initially, about four weeks apart, followed by yearly booster shots.

The intranasal and oral kennel cough vaccinations are typically given to dogs once a year, but may be recommended to be given every six months for dogs at high risk for kennel cough. These forms of the vaccine tendto provide dogs protection against kennel cough sooner than the injected product.

Souce: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and WebMD