Kennel Cough

Kennel Cough

by: Kelly Lewis

Kennel Cough: Upper respiratory tract infection and Lower respiratory tract infection

Recently, we have started to see a rise in upper respiratory infection, and this trend is likely to continue through the Spring Break travel season.

As a technician in the veterinary field, I often hear client’s say, “I don’t understand how my dog got kennel cough when he was boarding. I got Fido the Bordetella vaccine. If the vaccine doesn’t do anything, why did I even bother?”

This conversation always makes me cringe as there is clearly a failure on the medical professional’s part to truly educate our clients about “Kennel Cough”

Common diseases of the upper respiratory tract are rhinitis, sinusitis, laryngitis, and less commonly nasal tumors and epistaxis. These conditions are characterized by purulent drainage, sneezing, and coughing or gagging.

Of more concern are diseases of the lower respiratory tract. These include tracheobronchitis , tracheal collapse, and pneumonia.

Kennel cough, or infectious canine tracheobronchitis syndrome, is actually a blanket term used to describe a dry, hacking cough, in an otherwise healthy looking animal. These dogs commonly have a recent history ( 7-10 days prior) of attending a kennel, hospital, or grooming stay.

The agents that are responsible for kennel cough include viruses ie (H3N2 and H3N8 influenza strains), bacteria, mycoplasmas, fungi, and parasites. The most common agents are parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, herpesvirus, distemper virus, and the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica.

The use of vaccines may not completely prevent infection, but they help lessen the severity of disease and prevent the onset of pneumonia.

We highly recommend having all dogs that frequent social situations vaccinated for Bordetella and Influenza.