Kennel Cough is a highly contagious disease that dogs can catch from direct contact with an infected dog or by infected droplets in the air. It has both bacterial and viral causes.
We see an increase in kennel cough cases at this time of year as more dogs are mixing e.g. in kennels, at dog-friendly events like Highland shows and summer fairs, and increased dog walking due to the nicer weather. Dogs are often infectious before they start coughing, so often a dog is spreading the disease with their owner not realising. Once exposed to the disease it takes 3-10 days before the disease is seen.
The disease presents as a harsh, persistent and usually dry cough. They can be quite depressed with this disease, and some can cough so much that they make themselves vomit. Young, elderly or dogs with underlying disease may be at greater risk of developing more serious symptoms, and in a small number of cases, it can be fatal. Antibiotics are useful to reduce disease duration, but because there are also viral components to the disease, they only have a little impact on the symptoms.
Vaccination can reduce greatly the risk of developing a severe cough. It is also often required to use certain kennels or classes. It takes the form of a yearly vaccine that is administered into your dog’s nose. It is not a painful experience for your dog, but they can find it mildly uncomfortable, but we do our best to keep stress levels to a minimum.
Post-vaccine some dogs so develop a slight cough, this is NOT a form of kennel cough. The dogs are not vaccinated with the live disease, but harmless versions of viruses and bacteria from the major diseases. They do not become infectious carriers by being vaccinated.
If you think your dog has kennel cough please book an appointment and advise the member of staff your dog has a cough. We will advise you to keep your dog outside or in the car, to avoid spreading the disease to other dogs in the waiting room.