Vaccinations are part of good health care for your pet and keep important diseases in check. We follow the current AAHA guidelines and recommend the distemper combination and rabies vaccine be given to your pet every three years once they complete their initial boosters. One vaccination that’s important to keep your pup healthy is kennel cough. Here’s what you should know.

What is kennel cough?

Also known as infectious canine tracheobronchitis or bordetellosis, kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease that causes inflammation in the throat and lungs of dogs. Many dogs will be exposed to the bacterial infection at least once during their lifetime, but the dogs most at risk are puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with weakened immune systems.

Signs of Kennel Cough

Most dogs infected with kennel cough will begin to show the signs about 3 days after being exposed to a large number of other dogs.

How will you know if your dog has contracted kennel cough? The signs to watch for include:

  • A persistent, nagging cough
  • Watery nasal discharge
  • Retching
  • Lethargy

In severe cases, dogs suffering from kennel cough will develop pneumonia and a fever and can even die from the disease.

Diagnosing and Treating Kennel Cough

If you’ve noticed some of the above signs of kennel cough in your dog, call our office. Depending on the specific symptoms and your dog’s history and health status, we may want to do blood work, chest X-rays, urinalysis, a fecal exam, or bacterial cultures.

If we determine your dog does indeed have kennel cough, treatment can vary from rest and good hydration and nutrition for mild cases to anti-inflammatory medications and antibiotics for more severe cases. If your dog has also developed pneumonia, hospitalization may be necessary.

Preventing Kennel Cough

Prevention, as usual, is the best medicine for kennel cough. All dogs should be vaccinated against canine adenovirus, and dogs at high risk of contracting kennel cough—those spending time around other dogs—should also be vaccinated against Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza virus.

Is your dog up to date on his vaccines? Call our office to find out or schedule your next appointment.