February 2019: Vet Blog

January 24 2019

Coughing dogs

I HAVE recently seen a few cases of dogs with kennel cough and so I thought to write an article to raise awareness of the problem. Kennel cough is easy to catch and is caused either by a bacteria or a virus. In towns and cities the disease can spread quickly due to dogs meeting each other on walks. Unfortunately, they don’t cover their mouths when they cough!

 The dog gets the cough after being in contact with a dog with kennel cough. It is a dry, retching, honking cough that can start very suddenly and last for a few days or a couple of weeks. Sometimes the dog sounds like it is choking and will often cough up white foam. It is a common disease and often we see little outbreaks from time to time. Around 40,000 cases are seen by vets every year.

 Most fit and healthy dogs will recover quickly from kennel cough but it could be more difficult to treat in the very young or very old.  Treatment can involve anti-inflammatory medicine or antibiotics but often it is a case of letting the disease run its course. But even after the coughing has stopped, your dog can remain infectious for three months!

 There is a vaccination that can be given to try to prevent your dog catching kennel cough. It is a separate nasal spray, which is in addition to your dog’s yearly booster immunisations. Most boarding kennels will ask for the kennel cough vaccination to be given but it is a good idea to have your dog vaccinated regardless. This is because dogs in cities come into contact with a large number of dogs that may have a cough, for example at the groomers, doggy day care, the park, the street and training classes.

 However, there are other reasons your dog might be coughing and so it is a good idea to get your dog examined by a vet. Please give us a phone call to book your dog a kennel cough vaccination.