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Kennel Cough

Is your dog "barking" for the wrong reason?? Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis (ITB commonly called Kennel Cough), is a complex highly contagious respiratory infection.

Don't blame Kennel Cough on Kennels only

Infectious tracheobronchitis (ITB) is the medical term commonly known as "Kennel Cough" or "Canine Cough" a highly contagious respiratory disease of dogs very common in the dog population world-wide characterized by a harsh, dry, hacking or rasping cough!!

ITB can readily be transmitted to susceptible dogs and is very often associated with dogs housed in a high-density population or boarding kennel. However, this is not always the case - so the name "Kennel Cough" can be misleading. Why is this? The infectious agents are very contagious and can be transmitted through the air of by contact with contaminated surfaces, Puppies and younger unvaccinated dogs are at greatest risk, but even older dogs can become infected with Kennel Cough.

The most important health risk areas are:

  • Boarding Kennels
  • Dog Parks
  • Veterinary clinics
  • Daily walks
  • Obedience training
  • Dog Shows
  • Any other dog to dog contact or socialisation interaction

What causes canine cough syndrome?

There is no single cause for Kennel Cough but a whole spectrum of viruses and bacteria are working either alone or in combination to cause inflammation of the trachea (windpipe) and the bronchial tree. The most important of these is a bacteria called Bordetella broniseptica.
Furthermore, environmental factors such as cold, drafts and high humidity, may increase susceptibility to the disease. Stress, particularly of adverse environmental conditions, may cause relapse during later stages of the disease.

What are the symptoms of Canine Cough?

The singlemost outstanding symptom is a harsh, dry, hacking cough, which is aggravated by activity or excitement. It may sound as if your dog has something stuck in his throat.
The high-pitched, honk-like cough occurs in paroxysms and is sometimes followed by retching or gagging in and attempt to clear mucus from the throat. Your dog may even vomit up fluid after coughing.
Body temperature may be elevated. If secondary bacterial pneumonia develops, the dog often shows signs of illness such as loss of appetite, depression, or fever and upper respiratory problems such as conjunctivitis (red,inflamed eyes), rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal passages) or sneezing. Any of these signs should prompt a visit to your veterinarian.

How long does the typical case of canine cough last?

From the time the dog first contracts the infection to the time that symptoms develop is typically between 3 to 10 days, and the symptoms can last for a few days to weeks. Antibiotics are given to reduce secondary bacterial infection, medications to reduce inflammation, and medications to suppress the coughing.

In contrast, though, prevention is always better than cure.

Vaccination still provides the most effective means to aid in the control of Kennel Cough. Please contact your veterinarian and he/she will be glad to tell your more about the latest developments. Vaccines can be given intranasally (in the nose) or by injection. Injectible vaccines like Bronchicine from Pfizer Animal Health can be given more easily and with little discomfort.

Advantages of the injectible vaccine include:

  • Convenience, the injectible is so much easier to administer than an intranasal
  • Better animal compliance, most dogs find intranasal crops unpleasant
  • No need to give both the intranasal and subcutaneous for booster vaccination