The name Kennel cough (infectious tracheobronchitis), is often confused as an illness that only happens if your dog visits a kennel; we want you to know, this is not the case! The illness got this name because of how contagious it is, as it can spread through a boarding kennel rapidly, and because most dogs in kennels are in close quarters with each other. Another name for this illness, and a better name at that, is Canine Cough.
Veterinary Clinics start getting phone calls of dogs having a hacking cough( often coughing so much they are vomiting), as soon as the weather starts to warm up. Most often the reasoning kennel cough becomes more persistent in warmer months is because owners are out and about with their dogs; playing at off- leash dog parks, participating in obedience classes, or going into a boarding kennel.
Kennel cough can be caused either by bacteria or viruses; both forms are highly contagious and thankfully, there is a vaccine for both forms. Kennel cough can be picked up through the air (when a sick animal coughs), on items (shared toys and water bowls), or through direct contact with an already sick dog.
If you are considering placing your dog in a kennel this summer or at any time throughout the year, your dog is usually required to have the kennel cough vaccine. Even if your pet is not going to a boarding kennel, having the kennel cough vaccine on board will help protect your dog, especially if you are out with your dog more often in summer.
Even though your dog is vaccinated with kennel cough, it is not a 100% preventable vaccine, but if your dog does become infected, it will help make the symptoms not as severe.
Although not usually life threatening, the trachea of your pet becomes so inflamed, that the cough sounds almost like a goose honk. Sometimes the secondary infections from the cough can make the illness more severe, such as pneumonia.
If your dog ever starts to have a persistent cough that has come on very suddenly, please quarantine your pet from other dogs until seen by a Veterinarian. As said before, kennel cough (Canine Cough) is highly contagious, and can even be transferred to your neighbor’s dog through the fence!