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Beware Kennel Cough in Dog Parks

Cough Suppressants, Dog Parks, Kennel Cough

Many dog park patrons are concerned over the widespread kennel cough infection spreading throughout dog parks. This highly infectious disease spreads from one dog to the next and dog parks are breeding grounds for contamination. Dogs drink from the same water bowls that are placed around the dog park which then infects every dog that gets a drink. Kennel cough is contagious before symptoms appear and after symptoms go away, so dog owners don’t know which dogs are carriers.

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel Cough in dogs is a highly contagious infection that is either bacterial or viral. Kennel Cough is also known as:

* Tracheobronchitis

* Canine infectious tracheobronchitis

* Bordetellosis

* Bordetella

Viral Kennel Cough is commonly caused by the parainfluenza virus. It is the milder form of kennel cough and symptoms last for up to six days. The kennel cough vaccine is a preventative for this form of kennel cough.

Bacterial Kennel Cough occurs in dogs from two days to two weeks after becoming exposed to the infection. Normally, the symptoms last up to ten days but even after symptoms disappear, the dog is contagious for up to fourteen weeks. Many times, dogs infected with the flu will also have Bordetella. In this case, symptoms last for up to three weeks. Intranasal kennel cough vaccines offer some protection from bacterial kennel cough but it is not a guaranteed preventative.

Symptoms of Kennel Cough

* Dry, hacking cough

* Retching

* Vomiting

* Runny nose

* Lethargy

* Fever

* No appetite

Kennel Cough Treatment

Kennel cough is treated in two different ways. If the symptoms are mild, antibiotics and cough suppressants are used. Some veterinarians will not give antibiotics if the symptoms are

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If the infection is severe, antibiotics like, doxycycline or trimethoprim-sulfa is administered to the dog to prevent pneumonia.

Preventing Kennel Cough

Before taking a dog to the dog park, doggie day care, or a kennel, be sure to have the dog vaccinated against the infection. The vaccines are not foolproof against kennel cough but will alleviate some of the symptoms if the dog contracts the infection.

Never expose puppies to other dogs before they are old enough to receive vaccines.

Injected vaccines are given by veterinarians in two doses that are three to four weeks apart. Protection against kennel cough does not occur until one to two weeks after receiving the vaccination.

Intranasal kennel cough vaccinations are the most effective. Puppies are able to receive the nasal vaccine as young as three weeks old and only one dose is needed. Protection against kennel cough begins within four days instead of the two weeks for an injected vaccine.

Whether using an injected vaccine or nasal vaccine, yearly boosters are needed.

When taking a dog to the dog park, always bring your own bowl for water. Carefully watch your dog and try to keep him from drinking out of the public bowls. Also, if you notice any dogs coughing or gagging, take your dog out of the park and wait a few weeks before returning to the dog park to let the kennel cough infection run its course.

Pet Education: “Kennel Cough, Infectious Tracheobronchitis in Dogs”