Canine Cough

dog laying down peeking out from a bed sheet

We hope that you had a wonderful spring and are looking forward to spending some fun in the sun over the next few months.  As always, we are here to look after your pets.

Canine Cough

Summertime is Canine Cough season. Here are some facts about Canine Cough that you should know.

Canine Cough is often referred to as "kennel cough." In the old days, dogs didn't socialize like they do today. The only place where they encountered others was in a kennel. So, if a dog came down with a cough, it was presumed to be the fault of the kennel. The good news is that our industry has come a long way. Modern facilities are proactively requiring updated vaccinations and are cleaner, more professional, and better educated.

Fact #1. Canine Cough is a contagious virus and is passed from pet to pet just like the common cold is passed from person to person. The virus is called Bordetella, and it is airborne. It is present everywhere multiple dogs mingle. The best defense against this virus is the Bordetella vaccine.

Fact #2. The strength of your pet's immune system is a contributing factor in defending him against the Bordetella virus.

Fact #3. Even with the vaccine, your pet may still contract the virus. Vaccines are only effective for known strains and only protect your dog against those strains. According to the National Library of Medicine, there are currently 42 known strains of Bordetella, and the number changes frequently from source to source and as new strains are discovered.

Fact #4. Without secondary symptoms, the Bordetella virus causes nothing more than a common cold.

Fact #5. If your pet does get a cold that does not improve after a few days, or at any point becomes more symptomatic, consult your veterinarian just as you would consult your doctor if you had a cold that kept getting worse.

Fact #6. Dogs can be carriers of the virus yet exhibit no symptoms of it themselves.

After boarding or daycare, if your pet displays symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, or a runny nose, but still has a good appetite, he most likely is suffering from a cold. You can try treating the cold just as you treat your own cold: extra rest, lots of liquids, and over-the-counter cough remedies but without acetaminophen.

We take the health and well-being of all pets seriously. If you think your pet has Canine Cough after staying with us, please let us know immediately. We will follow up with your vet and other local veterinarians. As professionals, we need to be on top of anything new in our area that may be contagious. Doing this allows us to communicate correctly and in a timely manner with our customers.

What We Do to Protect Your Pets

Here at All American Pet Resorts, we do all we can to prevent the spread of the Bordetella virus, including requiring the Bordetella vaccine for all guests, recirculating and exchanging facility air multiple times per hour, and performing rigorous cleaning protocols.

What Else Can You Do?

To protect your pet further, we recommend that you exercise caution when visiting dog parks and doggie events where unvaccinated pets may frequent. We also request that if your pet is displaying any of the symptoms detailed above, you consider keeping him home until the illness is over. That action is for the well-being of your pet, as well as the other guests at the resort.

One of the biggest public relations problems for pet care professionals continues to be a much-misunderstood ailment in dogs called canine cough, tracheobronchitis, or often improperly referred to as kennel cough. As dog owners, it is good to be aware of the facts surrounding this ailment.

What is Canine Cough?

Infectious Tracheobronchitis is a contagious, upper respiratory ailment that spreads by any one of these three viruses Parainfluenza, Adenovirus, and Bordetella or any combination thereof – and is airborne. It can also be transmitted on hands and clothing. The incubation period of these ailments is roughly three to ten days. An infected pet may be contagious for three weeks after showing the first signs of illness. The main symptom is a hacking cough sometimes accompanied by sneezing and nasal discharge that can last from a few days to several weeks. Although this coughing is very annoying, it does not usually develop into anything more serious than a common cold. It may, however, lower the dog’s resistance to other ailments making him more susceptible to secondary infections.

Is it curable?

Just as in the case of a common cold, canine cough must run its course. Prescribed antibiotics or cough suppressants may prevent secondary infection, and make your pet more comfortable. Sometimes over-the-counter cough suppressants such as Vicks 44 or Robitussin will work just as well.

Does canine cough occur only in pet care facilities?

No. Since these viruses can be present anywhere and travel in the air, they can affect any dog, even ones that do not leave their backyards. However, it is more likely to occur anywhere there is a large group of dogs such as dog shows, daycare facilities, groomers, veterinarian offices and hospitals, pet shops, pet parks and even running loose or walking with the owner.

Aren’t the chances of catching it greater when a dog is in daycare or a boarding facility?

Possibly. In addition to exposure to a large number of dogs, there are elements of added excitement and in some cases, stress. No matter how great the facility, some dogs experience anxiety in a new environment and/or being away from their owners. This anxiety may lower the dog’s resistance to ailments such as canine cough. There is also a strong possibility that more frequent visits to pet boarding and daycare resorts will actually build up immunity in your dog. Even during a widespread breakout, only a small percentage of exposed dogs will be affected.

Are these viruses a constant problem?

Sort of. Like the flu, it is often seasonal and tends to be epidemic. When veterinarians begin to see cases, they normally alert pet services facilities and some individual dog owners. At All American Pet Resorts, each resort has custom air handling systems that replace resort air as often as every 20 minutes as well as large overhead doors that are opened to fresh air weather permitting.

Can my dog be protected by vaccines?

Well, yes and no. Yes, there are vaccines offered that cover known strains of each of the three viruses mentioned above. However, these strains are particularly virulent and new strains are constantly popping up. So, no. There is no full-proof vaccination. All American Pet 
Resorts requires all pets entering the resort to have proof of updated vaccination in an effort to keep up with all known virus strains.

Please feel free to discuss any concerns you may have regarding canine cough with the resort management staff.

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