The Truth About Canine “Kennel” Cough

With the busy holiday season approaching, many pets will be boarding at local pet hotels while their families travel. This time of year also brings with it an increased risk of respiratory ailments for dogs (much like our human cold and flu season). These illnesses are frequently given a fairly broad diagnosis called Canine Cough.

Canine cough (also called tracheobronchitis or kennel cough) is a respiratory illness that can be caused by a number of viruses or bacteria…symptoms include runny nose, coughing, sneezing, and/or greenish eye discharge…most commonly diagnosed by the dry, hacking cough associated with it. It is an airborne illness that can travel long distances Bauschlussreinigung Göttingen. Pets receive the bordetella vaccination to counter these diseases; however, much like the human flu vaccine, the vaccine itself is a “desensitizer” and not a 100% guarantee against contracting the illness. The vaccine itself may cause a mild version of the disease, and it should be given at least five days prior to a boarding stay to be fully effective. Once a pet has contracted canine cough (which is akin to a human cold or the flu), your veterinarian may prescribe cough suppressants as well as antibiotics and other medications to prevent any secondary bacterial infections such as pneumonia. Your veterinarian should also differentiate between the more common tracheobronchitis and the more serious canine influenza (more commonly characterized by a wet cough), which may result in the need for more intensive treatment. There is also a new vaccine for canine influenza, and you should discuss with your veterinarian whether your dog should also be immunized against this more virulent illness.

Much like people, some dogs may not be affected while others will become ill. Dogs who are frequently around other dogs (such as frequent boarders, dogs who attend daycare, visit dog parks or who spend time out in their neighborhoods) are less likely to become ill than dogs who spend most of their time in their own home. Dogs who are more likely to contract canine cough include puppies, seniors or other pets with weakened immune systems, dogs who experience high levels of stress in environments such as boarding facilities and dogs who are not often exposed to other canines. The infection rates for the newer canine influenza are much higher.

High quality pet care facilities will take steps to minimize the risk of your pets contracting any illnesses while they are visiting, including:

*Rigid daily cleaning and disinfecting protocols
*Careful hands-on check of all pets at arrival to look for any sign of contagious illness
*Continuous monitoring during a boarding stay to check for any signs of illness…if any ill pets are found, they should immediately remove them from the general population and isolate them until they can seek medical treatment and the dogs are no longer contagious

However, you should understand that a boarding facility cannot control all possible avenues of infection. For example, pets who may be harboring a virus but are showing no symptoms, pets in surrounding neighborhoods or passing by the facility who may be ill, or any exposure your pets may experience either prior to or following a boarding stay all represent circumstances that a pet resort cannot control.

You should inform your pet care facility of any health concerns with your dogs either before or after a boarding stay. You should also make alternative arrangements (veterinarian, home pet sitter) for any pets with symptoms of canine cough or other contagious illness…and should understand if your pet resort is unable to board your furry friend if it arrives with any symptoms that are of concern. They may ask that you visit your veterinarian to determine the cause of any symptoms and to obtain his or her medical opinion as to whether your pet may infect others if he or she stays at a boarding facility. For the safety of all visiting pets, facility staff should reserve the right to refuse boarding (or grooming, training, or daycare) to any pet who may potentially infect others.

Much like children in school or daycare, any time there are a number of dogs in close proximity to each other there is an increased risk of the spread of any contagious viruses. Coupled with lowered immunity due to the stress of being away from home, any exposure to a respiratory ailment may result in your pet becoming infected. If your pet becomes ill, you should not assume that the facility is at fault due to poor cleaning or sanitation (though you should always check out any new facility to ensure you are comfortable with its procedures and environment!)…rather, understand that they do everything in their power to ensure a safe and healthy boarding environment but that occasionally there are factors beyond their control.

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