Kennel Cough is one of the most highly contagious respiratory diseases your dog can acquire. Kennel Cough’s official name is “infectious tracheobronchitis". Right or wrong, it seems to have earned its name because dogs frequently get the disease at kennels. The reality is the disease can be transmitted wherever dogs come together: dog parks, dog shows, training groups, and of course, boarding and daycare facilities.
How Your Dog Gets It
Dogs spread infectious tracheobronchitis to one another through direct contact, such as touching noses, using contaminated water and food bowls, or breathing in the virus or bacteria particles. The virus or bacteria takes hold in the mucus that lines the dog’s respiratory tract lining. The mucus that normally traps infectious elements is compromised by the bacteria, which allows the virus to take hold.
The factors that increase the likelihood of contracting Kennel Cough are: cold temperatures, dust, smoke, or stressful situations like travel, and time spent in crowded situations. When contracted, Kennel Cough causes inflammation of the larynx and trachea. It’s this inflammation that causes your dog to cough like a honking goose.
Kennel cough is a respiratory infection requiring rest and proper nutrition. In a healthy dog it takes roughly 10 to 21 days for the infection to run its course. Older dogs or dogs with previous compromised health can take as long as six weeks to recover. Puppies with the infection are vulnerable too. Be sure to call your vet if your dog displays extended listlessness, rapid breathing, loss of appetite, or severe diarrhea. A rare secondary infection of pneumonia is possible
The immunization is similar to that of a flu shot in that it protects the dog from the main cause of Kennel Cough. The major cause is the bacterium Bordetella, or Bordetella bronchiseptica. Viruses weaken the dog’s immune system. These include canine adenovirus type 2, canine parainfluenza virus, canine respiratory coronavirus, and mycoplasmas. The vaccine will not treat an active infection. Often, dog boarding and daycare facilities require immunization, but your dog can still catch kennel cough.
Some precautions you can take:
- Keep your dog in clean, well-ventilated areas
- Don’t allow your dogs to share bowls of water, food, toys or sticks
- Avoid contact with other dogs and screen your dog’s buddies for recent issues
Humans and Kennel Cough
Whether humans can catch kennel cough from an infected dog is still unclear. The Bordetella bronchiseptica bacterium is related to human Bordetella Pertussis, which is the bacterium that leads to whooping cough. People with weak immune systems or people who live in dirty, poorly ventilated areas have a higher chance of catching this bacterium. We hope this helps you better understand what kennel cough is and how to treat it.