Kennel cough, also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a common respiratory disease in dogs. It's a highly contagious condition that can affect dogs of all ages, and understanding how it spreads is crucial for preventing its transmission in pet care facilities and among our furry companions. In this blog post, we'll explore kennel cough, its causes, symptoms, and most importantly, how it is spread from pet to pet.
What Is Kennel Cough?
Kennel cough is a respiratory infection in dogs that primarily affects the trachea and bronchi. It gets its name from the fact that it often spreads rapidly in places where dogs are in close proximity to each other, such as kennels, dog parks, and boarding facilities. Kennel cough can be caused by a variety of infectious agents, including viruses and bacteria. One of the most common bacteria associated with kennel cough is Bordetella bronchiseptica. Other contributors can include canine parainfluenza virus and canine adenovirus.
How Does Kennel Cough Spread?
- Direct Contact: Kennel cough is highly contagious, and it spreads through direct contact between infected and healthy dogs. This can occur when dogs sniff or lick each other, play together or in the same area, or share water and food bowls.
- Airborne Transmission: Kennel cough can also be transmitted through the air. When an infected dog coughs or sneezes, tiny respiratory droplets containing infectious agents are released into the environment. These droplets can be inhaled by other dogs in close proximity, leading to new infections.
- Contaminated Surfaces: Kennel cough can survive on surfaces for a short period. If an infected dog touches or rubs against objects like toys, bedding, or fences, the bacteria or viruses can linger. When other dogs come into contact with these contaminated surfaces and then touch their noses or mouths, they can become infected.
- Asymptomatic Carriers: Some dogs can carry and spread kennel cough without showing any symptoms themselves. These asymptomatic carriers can unknowingly infect other dogs.
Common Symptoms of Kennel Cough
Symptoms of kennel cough usually appear within a few days after exposure and can vary in severity. Common signs include:
- Persistent, dry, and hacking cough
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Mild fever
- Loss of appetite
If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms of Kennel Cough, be sure to let us know when booking your appointment so we can take proper safety measures for our other clients.
Preventing Kennel Cough
Preventing the spread of kennel cough is essential, especially in places where dogs congregate. Here are some tips for preventing kennel cough:
- Vaccination: Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to protect dogs from kennel cough. Talk to your veterinarian about vaccines, especially if your dog frequently interacts with other dogs or is often in high-risk environments.
- Good Hygiene: Practicing good hygiene, such as regular handwashing and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, can help reduce the risk of transmission.
- Isolation: If your dog shows symptoms of kennel cough, isolate them from other dogs to prevent the spread of the infection.
- Avoid High-Risk Environments: If kennel cough is prevalent in your area, consider avoiding places like crowded dog parks or kennels until the risk has subsided.
- Responsible Ownership: Be a responsible dog owner by keeping your pet's vaccinations up-to-date and seeking prompt veterinary care if you suspect they have kennel cough.
Kennel cough is a contagious respiratory disease that can spread easily from pet to pet. Understanding how it spreads is the first step in preventing its transmission. Responsible pet ownership, vaccination, and good hygiene practices can help keep your furry friend and others safe from kennel cough in shared environments. Always consult with your veterinarian for guidance on vaccination and managing kennel cough if your dog is affected by this common ailment.