Welcome to another addition of Medical Monday!
Recently, I was asked by a brand new pet parent if the kennel cough vaccine was necessary?
This got me thinking about vaccines and how we have a tendency to think some vaccines are less important because the potential infection could be minor. I myself am even guilty of not getting a flu vaccine because I have had, and have survived the flu. That being said, I am aware that the flu can be fatal to those who are immunocompromised, and it tends to travel quickly from one person to another.
So the question is: is kennel cough a mild nuisance, or a fatal disease?
Although kennel cough, or infectious tracheobronchitis, can be easily treated in the average dog, it can be fatal to puppies, and can become chronic in elderly, weakened or sick dogs (Merck/Merial). The most important thing to remember about kennel cough is that is can spread quickly, so we need to vaccinate!
According to Merck/Merial, a number of different viral and bacterial organisms can be responsible for causing kennel cough. Additionally, stress, changes in ventilation, temperature, and humidity can affect your dog’s ability to catch this disease, and the severity at which they experience symptoms.
What are the signs of kennel cough?
Dry, hacking cough
Cough that sounds like honking
In severe cases, you may see signs of pneumonia, fever, lethargy and lack of appetite.
How does my dog catch kennel cough?
The reason this disease is referred to as kennel cough is because a boarding situation, or facility, is typically where your pet can pick up kennel cough.
However, there are a few other places people don’t typically think kennel cough is a threat, such as the groomers and the dog park.
What can I do to protect my pet?
Vaccinate! The kennel cough vaccine is required to be boosted every year in the Bay Area (this requirement may vary based on your location). If poking your puppy with another needle is a concern, a vaccine may not even require a needle since there is a version that is absorbed through the mucous membranes and is actually given through the nose!
Here is a video I found on what kennel cough sounds like, just as a reference:
What is the treatment for kennel cough?
According to PetMD, your veterinarian may prescribe an anti-inflammatory agent to reduce the irritation that causes the itching and need to cough. However, if the symptoms are more severe an antibiotic may be necessary.
If your pet is showing any of the signs discussed above please seek your veterinarian immediately to help your pet recover!
Has your pet ever experienced kennel cough? If so, where did they pick it up from?
Please don’t forget that we have 4 pets available for adoption on the blog right now…that’s right 4!
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To all those who have already shared and helped…thank you so much!