Kennel cough (or infectious tracheitis to give it its proper name) is caused by two main infectious agents, a bacterium called Bordetella, and parainfluenza virus.
It is a highly infectious disease spread between dogs sharing a common air space such as in a kennel environment, dog shows or training classes. Since 2012 it has been mandatory for all commercial dog kennels to insist on kennel cough vaccination for dogs entering their premises.
It is characterised by a harsh ‘barking’ cough brought on by exercise or excitement. Signs start to appear within two or three days of infection and within a very short space of time the disease causes severe, often irreversible, damage to the upper airways. In some cases, if left untreated, pneumonia can develop which in turn can be fatal.
Normally kennel cough is not found outside of kennel type environments as it doesn’t survive very long in dry air. It is also readily killed by UV light in the summer months. However, during the damp foggy mornings of October and November, kennel cough can survive up to twelve hours in the damp still air acting as a reservoir of infection for the next unsuspecting dog to enter the park.
Thank fully there is a very effective vaccine to cover against kennel cough which provides full protection within 72 hours of administration. Although not given as a routine at time of annual vaccination, it is readily available should you wish to protect your pet against this distressing condition. Please ask one of the team at reception for more information.