The Kennel Cough Syndrome is a highly contagious illness of dogs, characterised by a dry, hacking cough. The invading germs cause inflammation/irritation of the upper respiratory tract, by invading the cells that line the throat & trachea.
Kennel Cough (KC) can be caused by viral infections such as Canine Distemper Virus; Canine Adenovirus; Canine Para-influenza Virus or Canine Respiratory Coronvirus or Bacterial infections such as Bordatella bronchiseptica.
The syndrome is so named because, the infection can spread quickly among dogs living together, such as in the close quarters of a kennel, a dog show or exercising in the park.
How does my dog get infected with Kennel Cough?
Both the viral & bacterial causes of Kennel Cough are spread through the air by infected dogs sneezing or coughing over or near other dogs. Kennel Cough is also spread through contact with contaminated surfaces (such as the ground, toys or sidewalks & lamp posts).
Kennel Cough is highly contagious even days and weeks after exposure. Left untreated this disease can progress to pneumonia.
Once your pet is showing clinical signs, it is safest to isolate your dog until the cough is completely healed.
What symptoms does a dog with Kennel Cough show?
Symptoms can include a harsh, dry, hacking cough with retching, sneezing, snatching, gagging or vomiting in response to light pressure on the trachea, or after exercise or excitement.
The presence of a fever varies from case to case. The cough can last for about 10-20 days, but can reoccur when the dog is placed in a stressful situation that puts stain on the immune system.
Phlegm can sometimes be coughed up from the trachea, even though it sounds like vomiting from the stomach. The phlegm is usually white and bubbly, without blood. You might see these patches of bubbles in the bedding or blankets of your pets.
Treatment of Kennel Cough
Antibiotics to combat any bacterial infections present.
Cough Mixture to suppress the dry cough.
Raw Honey to soothe the throat.
Add one tsp to a cup of warm water.
Offer the honey water many times during the day. If your pet won’t drink the honey water – most do as dogs like sweet stuff – then syringe the honey water into your dog’s mouth.
Vitamin C can be dosed at 100mg/kg of your dog’s body weight. You must give the tablets with food and stop if your pet shows any signs of diarrhoea or vomiting.
How to prevent Kennel Cough
Prevention of Kennel Cough is best done by vaccination.
Canine Distemper Virus,
Canine Adenovirus and
Canine Para-influenza virus are part of the 5-in1 or annual vaccination.
The Bordatella bronchiseptica vaccine can be given into the nose (intranasal) or injected under the skin (subcutaneous injection). This KC vaccination is also repeated annually.
In kennels, at shows or anywhere dogs congregate, the best prevention is disinfection of cages and surfaces as much as possible. Most kennels will no longer board animals without proof of up to date vaccination. Please inquire from your kennels, long before you need to book your pets in, so that you are not turned away because of expired vaccinations.