Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is a common disease for which there is a vaccination.


What signs does it cause?

Kennel cough causes a dry hacking cough, often with gagging and bringing up white frothy mucous.  Owners often explain that it sounds like the dog is choking.

While kennel cough is very unlikely to cause death, it is very annoying for both the dog and the owner who has to try and sleep through the continual hacking cough. 


How long does it last?

It may last up to 7-10 days in vaccinated dogs and 2 or more weeks in unvaccinated dogs. 


How is it spread?

Kennel cough is spread via close contact with other infected or carrier dogs.  This could occur by an infected or carrier dog sniffing your dog or coughing on them.

Although the kennel cough infectious agents don't last long in the environment, they may be found for a short period afterwards in places infected or carrier dogs have been, so lamp posts, dog parks, debris on the beach they have been sniffing around and so on, so even if your dog doesn't ever contact other dogs, it may still be at risk.

High risk environments are those where lots of dogs congregate like boarding kennels, dog shows and dog events, like 'Bark in the Park'.  This doesn't mean you should avoid these places though, just take precautions to minimise your dogs risk and don't take your dog to these places if it is showing signs of kennel cough.


What if my dog has kennel cough?

If you suspect your dog has kennel cough, you should bring him/her to your veterinary clinic for a consultation.  If your dog has a dry hacking cough, we recommend you leave them in the car when you arrive at the veterinary clinic and only bring him/her in once the veterinarian is ready to see him/her to minimise risk of spread at the veterinary clinic. 

Veterinary Clinic staff will always disinfect appropriately after a suspected kennel cough patient has visited too. 

If your dog is diagnosed with kennel cough they will be given a course of antibiotics (as it is caused by both viral and bacterial agents).  They may also be give some anti-inflammatories and/or bronchodilators depending on the presentation of the dog. 

We will also ask that you quarantine your dog at home for the duration of the coughing to reduce spread.

Unless your dog was already ill prior to contracting kennel cough, for example - it has cancer and is being treated with chemotherapy causing a suppressed immune system, kennel cough is unlikely to cause serious implications, but it is highly contagious and stressful for both dogs and owners, so you need to seek treatment, even if your dog is well and follow your veterinarians recommendations regarding quarantine. 



What about vaccination?

Even though vaccinated dogs can and do still get kennel cough they have much shorter and much less severe bouts so vaccination is still very important. 

It is also known that the cover given by kennel cough vaccination starts to wane between 6 and 12 months so as well as ensuring your dog has its annual vaccinations which includes cover for kennel cough, we would advise you to talk to your veterinarian about whether it is worthwhile getting a 6 month booster of kennel cough only.   For dogs assessed as being at high risk, this has clearly resulted in a reduction in disease for them. 

It is also worth noting that kennel cough vaccination is available as both an injectable and intranasal vaccination.  Talk with your veterinarian about the differences between these and what they would recommend for your dog.


For more information and to find out if your dog is up-to-date with its vaccinations,  contact us using the web contact form, or give us a call on 348 9728 (Straven Road Branch) 


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