FROM DR. BRONWYN CHISHOLM
As many of you already know, Kennel Cough is very prevalent in Winnipeg, with waves of infection seeming to occur, at least in our general vicinity. Kennel cough is a ‘catch-all’ term for any condition in dogs that is contagious in nature, and causes coughing as one of the symptoms. There are multiple viruses and one bacteria that are principally responsible for this condition (interestingly, the Canine coronavirus is one culprit often implicated). The reason behind the ‘waves’ of cases, is the highly contagious nature of kennel cough: any place that dogs congregate or greet each other can result in transmission. Kennels, groomers, dog parks, pet-friendly housing with a high number of dogs – even sharing a water bowl is close enough contact to pass it along. So when one dog contracts kennel cough, then it can start to spread like wild fire.
Usually it is self-limiting as the dog’s immune system works through fighting off the pathogens. However, in some pets, the cough becomes so severe that they (and their owners!) are unable to sleep, and more seriously, the infection can settle into the deeper parts of the lungs. In these more serious cases, antibiotics are necessary to help the pet overcome the infection and recover fully
Kennel Cough infection is known to result in short term, mild protection and unfortunately, the vaccine is similar. The benefit to vaccinating your pet against kennel cough is that should they be presented with a small amount of virus or bacteria, they will not get sick. And if they are exposed to a high amount of bacteria or virus that cause Kennel Cough, their symptoms will be milder and they will recover much faster than if they are unvaccinated. Interestingly, if your pet develops kennel cough, giving the vaccine at that time (“in the face of infection” to use vet-speak), will also help them recover faster and with less severe disease. So to summarize, this infection is highly contagious, and although not usually serious in nature, it does cause a horrible cough, and it can lead to severe infection. So give us a call with any questions and we’ll happily talk them through further.
Links to additional information on Kennel Cough:
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