Canine Respiratory Disease

Hello!  Today I’d like to go over Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis (AKA Kennel Cough) since we have been seeing a lot of cases recently.  Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis is an inflammatory disease that causes a severe honking cough finishing in a “gag”. Occasionally dogs will cough up phlegm, or appear to vomit at the end of a coughing fit. Other symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, loss of appetite, mild fever and lethargy.  Infectious Tracheobronchitis is highly contagious and is spread by close contact with affected dogs (nose to nose), through airborne droplets, or contaminated surfaces such as water bowls.  Most pups pick this up in areas where they are in contact with a lot of other dogs such as training classes or the dog park.  Once exposed, it takes 3-14 days for a dog to develop symptoms.

Causes of Tracheobronchitis are many, and include bacterial organisms, viral organisms, and mycoplasma. Bacteria such as Bordatella bronchiseptica are considered one of the main perpetrators of Kennel Cough.  Viruses such as Canine Parainfluenza, Canine Adenovirus, and Canine Respiratory Coronavirus can also be involved.  All of the above mentioned causes can (and should) be included in your dog’s vaccine program if you take your dog to the groomer, board them frequently, or go to training classes or the dog park.  Mycoplasma is a nasty bug that is very difficult to treat and there is no vaccine for Mycoplasma. Besides being a nasty bug in itself, it can also result in a chronic carrier state that can reside in an asymptomatic dog who spreads the disease to other dogs.

Treatment of Infectious Tracheobronchitis includes isolating the infected from other dogs, washing food/water bowls, often antibiotics and anti-tussives (cough medication) will be prescribed.  Once your dog has Kennel Cough, it will shed the infectious agent for up to 10 days.  An intermittent cough may be present over a 4-6 week time period, but will eventually vanish.

Other disease that exhibit coughing can include collapsing trachea, bronchitis, pneumonia, congestive heart failure, canine distemper, and canine influenza, so it is important to bring your dog in for an examination if they begin coughing.

So, it is important to ensure your dog is properly vaccinated against all of the above diseases if they are exposed to a lot of other dogs frequently.  If you have any questions about vaccination protocols for your pet, please feel free to give us a call and we will be happy to customize your pet’s vaccine schedule.

Stay Happy, Stay Healthy

Dr. Daisy


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