Infectious Bronchitis – otherwise known as ‘Kennel Cough’ is a very contagious disease of the respiratory system, which affects dogs of all ages.
This disease is caused by a mixture of viruses and bacteria, which pass easily from dog to dog as a droplet infection, wherever dogs congregate – in boarding kennels, dog shows, training classes, or simply out on walks!
Affected dogs typically develop a very harsh, dry, hacking cough, which can often last several weeks. The cough can be so severe, that it often sounds as if the dog is choking. At the same time, the dog may run a temperature, go off his or her food and become quite lethargic – similar symptoms to human ‘flu’. In some cases, kennel cough can have serious complications.
If your dog is attending training or agility classes, or going to shows then it is advisable to protect them against this disease. The risk of kennel cough can be reduced by vaccination. The vaccine differs from your dog’s usual annual vaccination, in that it is squirted up the nostril, rather than being injected under the skin. In general, it is recommended that the vaccine is given 1-2 weeks in advance of attending kennels or classes.
If your dog has become infected with kennel cough, the first thing that you are likely to notice is a dry, retching cough. Depending on how severe the infection is, your dog may also exhibit signs including:- lethargy, reluctance to eat, fever, runny eye and/or nose and depression. Prompt treatment of kennel cough once symptoms develop reduces the risk of complications. Antibiotics to kill the bacteria involved in the disease will hasten recovery and prevent most complications. It is also important to rest your dog as this will allow them to recover more quickly and will reduce the spread of infection to other dogs.
It is important to keep in mind that kennel cough can last for up to 4 weeks and your dog may remain contagious for up to 2 weeks after treatment.