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Posted on 07-31-2017

My dog can't get Kennel Cough, because he's never been in a kennel!
Many people believe that since the disease is termed "Kennel Cough" it can only be acquired in a kennel situation. This is completely untrue! Any dog can acquire Infectious Tracheobronchitis or "Kennel Cough". This includes dogs in kennels, visiting the vet, playing at the dog park with other dogs, saying "hi" to another dog on a walk, or barking with their buddy on the other side of the fence. Typically unvaccinated dogs as well as younger and older dogs are more at risk for acquiring this disease. 

Infectious Tracheobronchitis can be caused by several different organisms--both bacterial and viral. These infectious particles are spread through respiratory secretions such as coughing, barking, bowl sharing, etc. Also, infectious dogs can spread the disease without any clinical signs for several weeks after they have stopped coughing.  Most dogs show signs of a severe, often "honking" cough. Some dogs may vomit after coughing due to the abdominal push they use to cough. This disease is often self limiting, but dogs can cough for several weeks. Antibiotics can help shorten the course of disease and the length of time dogs are infectious for. 
We have been seeing several cases of Infectious Tracheobronchitis lately at our hospital. The best things you can do to minimize your dog's chances of acquiring the disease include vaccination and minimizing contact with other dogs, especially any coughing dogs. The Bordetella vaccine helps to protect your dog from Kennel Cough. It is administered on an annual basis. Just like the flu vaccine for people, it helps to protect against the most common organisms associated with Kennel Cough. And similar to the human flu vaccine, it is not a 100% effective vaccine and does not protect against every organism that can cause Kennel Cough.  However, it can reduce your pet's risk of infection, and often minimize the severity of the disease. 

If you have any further questions about kennel cough or your dog's risk, please contact us at Middletown Animal Hospital. 

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