IT’S ALL ABOUT THAT COUGH!
Coughing in animals can be caused by a variety of conditions including heart conditions, certain parasitic infections and primary lung problems. A cough will necessitate a visit to the veterinary clinic to figure out which one is the cause and to start specific treatment.
Today we will focus on KENNEL COUGH in dogs and SNUFFLES in cats.
This is the layman’s term for infectious tracheobronchitis, a respiratory infection in dogs caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica and Canine parainfluenza virus. It is highly infectious and dogs contract the disease by inhaling bacterial and viral particles in the air.
Due to its infectious nature, kennel cough is often more prevalent in places where a large number of pets are grouped together like kennels, dog parks, dog training facilities and dog shows.
With more of us taking our four-legged friends out for walks and trips to the local market or dog park, kennel cough is becoming more and more prevalent.
Signs of kennel cough:
- Dry harsh hacking/honking cough
- All dogs in the household are affected
- Sneezing or runny nose
- Not eating well
- Low grade fever
KENNEL COUGH IS PREVENTABLE
A vaccine exists for kennel cough which needs to be given yearly, this is usually compulsory when your pet is going to a kennel, but we recommend vaccinating your pet if you regularly take them into areas with a high concentration of other animals.
It is important that the vaccine be given at least three to four days BEFORE going to kennels to allow immunity to build in time.
Because kennel cough can be caused by more than one virus and the vaccine covers the most likely viral infections, it is still possible for a vaccinated pet to get kennel cough but the disease is usually much milder.
Cats are quite prone to upper respiratory infections, especially when they are in a stressful environment like a cattery, boarding kennel or at a breeder. The normal yearly vaccines for cats include Herpes and Calici virus which is known to cause “cat flu” but people often underestimate the role played by Bordetella bronchiseptica in “cat flu”. Bordetella, unlike the viruses, can cause sudden death especially in young cats where it can progress to bronchopneumonia.
Some cats can also become long term carriers shedding Bordetella for at least 19 weeks after initial exposure. Just like kennel cough it is highly infectious and can cause the following symptoms:
- Nasal discharge
- Swollen lymphnodes
- Rales (abnormal lung sounds)
- Lethargy and not eating
VACCINATING AGAINST BORDETELLA
A vaccine exists to protect cats against Bordetella bronchiseptica, the vaccine lasts for a year and should be given at least three to four days BEFORE taking your cat for boarding.
It has been shown that Bordetella bronchiseptica is spread between cats and dogs and therefore cats in regular contact with dogs should also be vaccinated regularly.