Canine Kennel Cough (Tracheobronchitis)


What is It?

Canine Kennel Cough is an illness common in dogs that spend time in kennels, hence the name, kennel cough. It is also passed around at dog shows and other places where large numbers of dogs congregate.

It can be either a viral or bacterial infection. And it is one of the most common infectious diseases in dogs.

Viral and Bacterial

In a viral infection, the most common culprit is the parainfluenza virus. This will cause mild symptoms that last for less than one week, unless there is also bacterial involvement. This is highly likely.

Most 5 way vaccines (puppy shots may protect against puppy kennel cough) and bordetella vaccinations provide some protection from this virus.

In a bacterial infection, bordetella bronchiseptica is the most common cause. In this situation, signs of infection occur three or four days after exposure. If no other agent is involved, it will normally last about a week and a half.

Parainfluenza and Bordetella usually appear together in infectious tracheobronchitis.

How is it Transmitted?

Highly contagious, canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is an airborne disease. Many kennels and dog daycare facilities will not allow your German Shepherd without proof of vaccination.

Be aware that after the infection has disappeared, your dog can still spread the disease for 6 to 14 weeks.

Symptoms of Canine Kennel Cough

A very distinct cough, it will sound as though your dog is trying to clear her throat.

Prevention and Treatment of Canine Kennel Cough

The best defense is to ensure your German Shepherd has a strong immune system. Make sure you are feeding quality dog food.

There are also several homeopathic remedies that may help reduce instances of kennel cough in dogs.

Your dog can be vaccinated with either intra-nasal drops or a shot. The intra-nasal method gives immunity more quickly. But the shot may last longer.

If your dog is often exposed to large numbers of dogs, you should consider bi-annual vaccinations.

Mild cases will typically run their course and require no treatment. If the cough lasts longer than 10 days, call your vet. While the disease can last for up to 21 days, you will want to rule out other airway or lung diseases.



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