Kennel Cough is considered an infectious disease that is caused by the canine Parainfluenza virus, the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria, or a combination of both virus and bacteria. This disease is called kennel cough due to the dry, hacking cough usually seen with infection.
Dogs that contract the infection are generally those dogs that frequent kennels, dog parks or doggy daycare- places where dogs meet many other dogs. This is one reason for the recommendation of the kennel cough vaccination in those dogs that frequent kennels, canine daycare facilities, and even some groomers.
Similar to the flu vaccine that we are able to receive, the kennel cough vaccine in dogs works to help reduce the risk of contracting the disease or to decrease the severity of clinical signs (the coughing) if the disease is contracted.
The vaccine does not guarantee that a dog will not get kennel cough. This is due to the fact that there are numerous strains of the bacteria that cause kennel cough. However, the vaccine only targets two of those strains. The vaccine allows the dog’s immune system to recognize the disease but doesn’t necessarily allow it to completely clear the disease without causing a mild cough. Dogs that are not vaccinated for kennel cough are more likely to develop more severe clinical signs. Such signs include a more severe, dry, hacking cough that lead to fits of gagging or vomiting; runny eyes and nose, and in most severe cases, pneumonia.
If your canine friend begins to show any of the signs mentioned above, please contact the clinic to receive further advice with respect to treatment.
Written by Christine Attridge-Hardy