Winter Coughs – Be prepared

by on January 5th, 2015

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Coughing Dog

We have seen a surprising number of coughing dogs over the last few weeks all caused by a contagious form of  infectious tracheobronchitis otherwise know as Kennel Cough – an unfortunate name as you do not need to be in kennels to catch it!

These infectious coughs, very similar to what we can catch, are caused by a strain of doggy flu (parainfluenza) and a bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica working together.

This infection can be vaccinated against with a few droplets up a nostril. This vaccination needs boosting annually to keep protection as high as possible.

Kennel cough usually presents as a harsh honking cough, often with the poor dog retching at the end.  This is due to coughing with such force that the windpipe collapses trigging the gag reflex.  Understandably many people worry that their dog initially is choking with something stuck in their throats.

These germs are extremely contagious, every time a dog coughs it releases thousands of infectious droplets which can survive in the environment and even on our clothes!  Infected dogs should be rested and isolated until the cough has gone. This can mean your dog is not allowed to go for a walk for some weeks!

Just like our human flu vaccinations, kennel cough vaccines can never give 100% protection but will often manage to reduce the severity of signs and duration of signs if any new strains emerge.

If  your dog is walked in busy parks or is likely to be mixing with other dogs, either in kennels or with a dog walker, we would definitely recommend vaccinating against Kennel Cough. As always if you are at all worried about your dog or not sure of his/her vaccination status then please contact the surgery for advice.

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