Video of a dog with "kennel cough"

Questions and answers about dog health care

What is kennel cough in dogs?  
Questions and answers about what is kennel cough in dogs. 

"Kennel cough" seems to imply this respiratory infection of dogs originates in a kennel setting when, in fact, it can be present anywhere numbers of dogs are in a group environment.  Correctly called Canine Cough or Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, direct contact with an infected dog is not required for transmission because offending organisms can be carried on airborne dust, moisture and various objects. 

Call your local veterinarian if your dog or cat is sick! 

I have a ten year old Bulldog and he's in pretty good health.  I walk him daily and he isn't overweight.  
     My vet suggests vaccination every year for "kennel cough"... Bordetella, I think it's called... but why should I give Barker that vaccine if he seldom goes anywhere?  
     He's never had a problem with this infection so why vaccinate?
Answer:     kennel cough vaccine... Bordetella... why use
Very good and reasonable questions!  A few important points are listed:

Canine Cough is caused by 2 to 3 organisms, mainly Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria and two viruses called parainfluenza virus, and canine adenovirus type 2. Usually in combination these organisms invade the epithelial cells lining the upper airway of the chest and neck.  The mucous producing lining cells of the trachea and bronchii become irritated, damaged, and secrete more than ordinary amounts of mucous in attepting to shield themselves from the invading organisms.
The lung tissue is seldom involved so this infection is not considered a "pneumonia"; however, some dogs under stress from other health or environmental conditions can develop pneumonia and become very seriously sick.

  1.)  Any age dog may not have sufficient immunity to ward off exposure to the disease.  Vaccination is your best way of assuring protection.
  2.)  Dogs at highest risk for complications from Bordetella bronchiseptica bacreria infection are short-faced breeds (called brachycephalic) due to their crowded airway anatomy, older dogs, and dogs with heart or breathing problems.
  3.)  It can take up to three weeks of discomfort, coughing and retching before relief comes with recovery and there is no medication to eliminate the viruses often part of the Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis syndrome.
  4.) Your dog can pass on the infection for 2 to 4 weeks after he seems recovered, and therefore can pose a threat to other dogs even though he appears normal!

     In a high percent of cases, Bordetella is not considered a dangerous disease as are such preventable diseases as Distemper and Parvovirus infection.

Doctor's Notes
     There has been a resurgence of Distemper virus in some communities so pay attention to your dog's vaccination status.
Do not...
     buy or administer vaccines on your own.  If your dog has a reaction, how will you be able to administer immediate appropriate counter measures?  

Intranasal Bordetella...
     if given accidentally by injection the intranasal Bordetella vaccine could create a serious systemic infection.

Intra-oral vaccine...
is now available and may be easiest to administer.


     Most dogs with "kennel cough" continue to play, eat and move about but display a persistent deep, dry cough that can be quite relentless for several days.  Fever us susally not associated with these patients; some do need medications shch as antibiotics, antihistamine or cough suppressants.

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kennel cough and kennel housing vaccinations for kennel cough Kennel cough can be present wherever many dogs come in close contact vaccines for Bordetella are very effective
The term "Kennel cough" is misleading because contagion can occur anywhere! The correct term is Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, also called Bordetella, a combination of a bacterium and two viruses that affect the upper respiratory tract. Most kennel operators require vaccination against "kennel cough", also called Bordetella, prior to a stay in a kennel facility. There two different types of vaccines.  One type is delivered only by injection under the skin; the other only by administering drops in the nasal passages.
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     What does kennel cough... or Bordetella... look and sound like?   My dog is hacking a lot and it has been going on for months.

best protection is to vaccinate for Bordetella

     "Kennel cough", an infection caused mainly by a bacteria organism called Bordetella, generally runs its course over 10 to 20 days.  
     If your dog has been hacking, not coughing, and it has been doing this  as long as two months, it is highly unlikely to be "kennel cough".  Your veterinarian should get involved right away!

Video of a dog with Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis... aka "kennel cough".

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kennel cough can be spread even without direct contact
"Kennel Cough" can be spread even without direct contact!

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