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Kennel cough:


One of the problems facing boarding in kennels today is caused by a much misunderstood disease in dogs called 'canine
cough,' or 'kennel cough' as it is more commonly referred to. As a dog owner you should be aware of the facts about this
disease.

What is canine cough?
It is a highly contagious upper respiratory disease which is spread by an airborne virus. The incubation period of the
disease is roughly three to seven days. The main symptom is a dry, gagging or hacking cough, sometimes
accompanied by sneezing and nasal discharge. It can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks.
Although the coughing is very annoying, it does not usually develop into anything more serious. However, as with the
common cold in us, it can lower the dogs resistance to other diseases, making them susceptible to secondary infections.
Therefore, they must be observed closely.

How is it cured?
Just as in the case of the common cold, canine cough can not be 'cured' but must run its course. Many times antibiotics
may be prescribed to prevent any secondary infection, and a cough syrup to help with coughing. These medications DO
NOT attack the disease itself, they are purely to help with the symptoms.

Is it only found in kennels?
No. These viruses can be present anywhere and can travel considerable distances through the air and can affect any dog
even those that never leave their backyard. It is more likely to occur though where there is a large concentration of dogs
like kennels, pet shops and vets. Dogs can also be exposed while running loose in the park, down the beach, etc. The
chances of catching it in a kennel environment are greater as the dog encounters two conditions that do not exist at
home: proximity to a number of potentially contagious dogs and the stress of being in an unfamiliar environment,
which can lower the dogs resistance to disease, (These same factors also explain why children are more likely to catch
a cold at school than at home.)
The more a dog boards the greater the chances that they will acquire more immunity to the disease. Even during a wide
spread outbreak only a fairly small percentage of dogs will become infected.

Is it a constant problem?
No. Canine cough like the flu is often seasonal. It also tends to be epidemic. When vets begin to see cases in their
clinics they normally come from every kennel in town as well as from individual pet owners who have never boarded.
When the outbreak is over they may not see another canine cough case for months.

Can my dog be vaccinated against it?
Some vets do not use this vaccination (C5) routinely. If you are going to board your dog, or if your vet recommends it,
then a C5 should be considered. However, having this vaccination does not mean your dog will not catch canine cough,
like the common flu vaccine it only lessens the symptoms if you do become infected.

Can't the kennel do more to prevent dogs from catching it?
No. Unfortunately no amount of supervision, sanitation or personalized care can prevent a dog from catching an
airborne virus. All a good kennel can do is ensure that all dogs are fully vaccinated before arrival, refuse to board any
sick dog, to be vigilant for any signs of sickness, and making sure that the infected dog receives vet attention as soon as
possible. Dogs with canine cough may not appear unwell for several days; but are still highly contagious. You may not
notice any symptoms until after you have taken your dog home.

You have the right to expect a kennel to provide the best possible care for your pet just as the kennel has the
right to expect you to accept financial responsibility for that care