Canine Cough a Misunderstood Disease
One of the public relations problems for boarding establishments today is caused by a much misunderstood dog disease called “Canine Cough”, tracheobronchitis, often improperly referred to as “Kennel Cough”. As a dog owner you should be aware of some of the facts about this
What is “Canine Cough”?
Infectious Canine Cough is a highly contagious, upper-respiratory disease that is caused by a group of airborne viruses or bacteria. The incubation period of the disease is roughly 3-7 days. The main symptom is a gagging cough, sometimes accompanied by sneezing and nasal discharge, which can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Although this coughing is very annoying, it does not usually develop into anything more serious. However, just as with the common cold, it can lower the dog’s resistance to other disease thus increasing susceptibility to secondary infections, and so the dog must be observed closely to avoid complications.
Just as in the case of the common cold, Canine Cough is not “cured” but must run its course. Many times antibiotics will be prescribed to prevent secondary infection, and sometimes cough suppressants will be prescribed to reduce excessive coughing, but these medications do not attack the disease itself.
Does Canine Cough occur only in Boarding Establishments?
No. Since these viruses or bacteria can be present anywhere, and can travel for considerable distances through the air, they can affect any dog…even one which never leaves its own back yard. But Canine Cough is more likely to occur when the concentration of dogs is greater such as dog shows, boarding establishments, veterinarian clinics and hospitals as well as pet shops. Dogs can also be exposed while running loose or while being walked near other dogs.
But aren’t chances of catching it greater when a dog is in a Boarding Establishment?
Yes…. because, in a boarding establishment, a dog encounters close proximity to a number of potentially contagious dogs. The more frequently a dog boards at a boarding establishment, the greater the chances that it will acquire immunity to the disease. Even during a widespread outbreak, only a fairly small percentage of exposed dogs are affected.
Is it the Boarding Establishments fault my dog has Canine Cough?
No. most pet boarding businesses follow many steps to help prevent the spread of Canine Cough but no amount of supervision, sanitation or personal care can prevent a dog from catching an airborne virus. Good boarding establishments will require that your dog be vaccinated (see below) and then do everything they can by sterilising and some boarding establishments even fog with F10 that is designed to prevent and kill off a virus like Canine Cough. But at the end of the day the virus is spread from pet to pet not from the boarding establishment. As it can take up to 5 to 10 days to show any signs, a dog can come into a boarding establishment with canine cough and go home before any signs have shown in the pet. Just like if your child came home from school with a cold it’s no more the fault of the school than it is the fault of a boarding establishment should a pet develop this virus. Canine Cough is much like a common cold.
Are these viruses a constant problem?
No. Canine Cough, like the flu, is often seasonal. When veterinarians begin to see cases, they normally come from every boarding establishment in the area, as well as from individual dog owners whose dogs have not been in a boarding establishment. When the outbreak is over, they might not see another case for months.
Can my dog be vaccinated to protect him against Canine Cough?
Yes! Vaccines against parainfluenza, adenovirus type 2 and Bordetella (in combination with other vaccines – distemper, hepatitis, and parvovirus) are routinely used as part of an adult dog’s vaccination program yearly check-up. It is important to note that the vaccines that are used to prevent Canine Cough are made from one strain of many different strains and therefore are not as effective against some strains as others. Your veterinarian is in the best position to recommend a program of preventive health care management depending on your pet’s needs.
Can’t the Boarding Establishment prevent my dog from catching Canine Cough?
Unfortunately, no….no amount of supervision, sanitation, or personalised care can prevent a dog from “catching” an airborne virus. All that a good boarding establishment can do is to strongly recommend immunisation against Canine Cough, refuse to board any obviously sick dog, listen and watch for any signs of sickness, and make sure that any dog requiring veterinary attention receives it as quickly as possible. (Strangely, the dog with parainfluenza alone may not appear ill, yet is contagious). Professional boarding establishments would justifiably expect owners to accept the financial responsibility for such care. Your Pet Industry Association member is devoted to your pet’s well-being. Look for their membership certificate proudly displayed.
C5 Vaccination certificates MUST be presented EACH time your dog enters this facility and they will be copied by the facility for your records. If you cannot provide this document your pet may not be allowed to enter the facility. This is to protect your pet and the other pets in this facility.
If at any time following your pet’s stay you are concerned about his/her health, you should always contact your local Veterinarian