Over the last few weeks we’ve been seeing increasing numbers of dogs brought to the surgery with Kennel Cough, also known as Infectious Bronchitis. This highly contagious cough is picked up during any social contact between dogs and the term ‘Kennel Cough’ can sometimes create confusion, when infected dogs have never been into Kennels.
We generally tend to see an increase in the number of cases over the summer months, as dogs spend longer outside and in the company of other dogs on walks, at agility and dog shows. Also dogs will tend to travel more, spreading infection as they go.
It can be caused by a number of pathogens, but by far the most common cause is a bacteria- Bordetella bronchiseptica. Next most common is a viral cause -Parainfluenza, and then a number of less significant agents.
There is usually a 1-2 lag between becoming infected and starting to show the classic signs of coughing. In addition to coughing, some dogs may also sneeze or have conjunctivitis. The cough varies in severity, from those only showing a gentle cough, through to those who go off their food, and cough so hard they vomit. It may persist for between 2 and 6 weeks. Dogs may continue to shed the bugs for some weeks after coughing has ceased
Treatment is usually not effective and by far and away the most important control measure, is to get dogs vaccinated before they become affected. Immunity is usually established 4 days after vaccination, and lasts for 1 year