Infectious tracheobronchitis, also known as Kennel Cough is a highly contagious, upper-respiratory disease that is spread by any one of three infectious agents (parainfluenza, adenovirus, or Bordetella) or any combination there of. Most often it is passed on through the air, it can also be transmitted on hands or clothing. The incubation period of the disease is roughly three to ten days. The main symptom is a hacking cough, sometimes accompanied by sneezing and nasal discharge, which can last 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 a common cold, it can lower the dog’s resistance to other diseases making it susceptible to secondary infections, and so the dog must be observed closely to avoid complications. Canine cough can be an especially serious problem for puppies and geriatric dogs whose immune systems may be weaker.
How is it cured?
Just as in the case of the common cold, tracheobronchitis is not “cured” but must run its course; however, any animal displaying signs of the illness should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. 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 it occur only in daycares?
No. Since these viruses can be present anywhere, and can travel for considerable distances through the air, they can affect any dog, even one that never leaves its own back yard. But tracheobronchitis is more likely to occur when the concentration of dogs is greater such as at dog shows, kennels, dog daycares, veterinarian offices as well as pet shops. Dogs can also be exposed while running loose or while being walked near other dogs, or playing in the park.
Can my dog get vaccinated?
Yes and it should be considered for pets that board or visit a daycare frequently. It is important to note that the vaccines that are used to prevent this viral disease are made from only one of the over 100 different strains of the virus and therefore are not effective on all strains. Your veterinarian is in the best position to recommend a program of preventative health care.
Can‘t the daycare prevent my dog from catching it?
While the spread of canine cough can be minimized by proper cleaning and properly ventilating the facility, remember that no amount of supervision, sanitation, or personalized care is guaranteed to be 100% effective against the illness. All that a good pet care facility can do is recommend immunization against tracheobronchitis, refuse to admit an obviously sick dog, follow responsible cleaning and sanitation practices, listen and watch for any signs of sickness, and make sure that any dog requiring veterinary attention receives it as quickly as possible.