Lets Talk About

This page is strictly the opinion and experiences that Melissa, the manager of Caraway Kennels, has seen over the last 13yrs. You may not agree with anything she says and that it ok but please keep it to yourself :)

Lets talk about.....Kennel Cough

From pets.webmd.com
What is Kennel Cough?
   Just as human colds may be caused by many different viruses, kennel cough itself can have multiple causes. One of the most common culprits is a bacterium called Bordetella. Most dogs that become infected with Bordetella are infected with a virus at the same time. 
   Dogs "catch" kennel cough when they inhale bacteria or virus particles into their respiratory tract. This tract is normally lined with a coating of mucus that traps infectious particles, but there are a number of factors that can weaken this protection and make dogs prone to kennel cough infection, which results in inflammation of the larynx and trachea.

These factors include:
Exposure to crowded and/or poorly ventilated conditions, such as are found in kennel and shelters
Cold Temperatures
Exposure to dust and cigarette smoke
Travel- induced stress

Symptoms of Kennel Cough:
   Classic symptom is a persistent, forceful cough.Some dogs with kennel cough may show other symptoms of illness, including sneezing, a runny nose or eye discharge.
   If your dog has kennel cough, he probably will not lose his appetite or have a decreased energy level.

   Most cases of kennel cough will resolve without treatment, medications may speed recovery or minimize symptoms during the course of infection. These include antibiotics that target Bordetella Bacteria and cough medicines.

To read the whole article please visit pets.webmd.com

Here are my thoughts on kennel cough...IT SUCKS! haha. The dogs sound horrible and you feel so bad for them. On the boarding side, we never know when it is going to hit us. We have so many preventative measures, we rotate disinfectants, we have a ventilator that helps us exchange the air in the kennel, we even take a 10% bleach solution and spray it in the air to try to kill any airborne diseases.

Some answers to some common questions we get asked:

My dog has the Bordetella vaccine aren't they protected? The vaccine may help but they do not guarantee protection against kennel cough. I believe that the vaccine only covers 4 different strains and the cause of your dog's illness can be caused by many different kinds of bacteria and viruses.

Who brought this in/ Who was patient x? Honestly, we have no idea. That is like asking the grocery store who gave you a cold while you were there shopping. Some dogs can carry a virus or the Bordetella bacteria and will never show symptoms but can disperse then into the air and infect the other dogs in that area.

How is it spread? There are numerous ways, but the most common is in the air or Face-to-Face interactions. Less common ways are bedding and communal water bowls.

What do I do if my dog starts coughing? First, Don't Panic! Your dog will be ok. Most vets will just prescribe some cough suppressants to help with the cough. While I have known other vets that put dogs on antibiotics. So the best thing to do is call your vet and see what they think. Some vets will also just have you pick up medication especially if they have seen your dog recently. If they do ask you to come in, i suggest that you leave your dog in your car until they have a room ready. When you sit in the waiting area with a coughing dog you are just contaminating their facility and all of the dogs that are coming in that day. Also, if your dog is coughing please do not bring it into the kennel, but we would love a phone call.If no one lets us know their dog is showing signs we cannot do anything extra about it, like warn clients. 

How long until I can bring my dog back into the kennel? Anywhere from 10 to 14 days after they first started showing symptoms.

My Opinions about 6 month vaccines vs. yearly:
  I have not seen a difference in dogs that get the 6 month vaccine vs. dogs that et the yearly vaccine. Dogs that get the shot every 6 months have contracted kennel cough just as much as dogs that get the vaccine yearly. 

  I have also known dogs that have a horrible reaction to the vaccine; stop getting it done and have never gotten kennel cough. So who knows who will get it and who won't. 

We ask everyone to stay away at least 2 weeks after they get their Bordetella vaccine. Our daycare clients we ask that they stay away at least 3 to 4 days after they have the vaccine. 

   Kennel cough is a risk that you take when you allow your dog into a social setting with other dogs. We will not pay for any vet bills that occur from your dog's kennel cough. So, if you never want to deal with this then I suggest you do not your dog leave your property. Also, just because it is called kennel cough does not mean that you can only get it from the kennel; you can get it from anywhere dogs gather. For example you are taking an obedience class, 3 dogs in that class go to daycare and 3 dogs go to another boarding kennel and you come here. Now you have picked up whatever was going on at those facilities and have brought it into our facility. This also goes for vet clinics, dog parks, dog shows, and pet stores.

   Remember information changes so much and so quickly that I have read stuff that says kennel cough is not zoonotic and I have read stuff that says it is. I do know that many clients who are doctors have said that the Bordetella bacteria is the same bacteria that causes Whooping Cough in humans, so I guess you could technically get that bacteria from your dog?? There are also a lot of other viruses that are presenting the same symptoms as kennel cough but they are actually not kennel cough.

   Lastly, just know that I would never wish kennel cough on any dog and it is the last thing we want here. Remember that I bring my dogs to work with me everyday and I don't want them sick as much as you don't want your dog sick. So we truly do everything in out power to not spread bacteria and viruses in the kennel.

I hope this helps and remember that you may not agree with me. These are just observations that I have seen, read and conversations I have had with numerous veterinarians over the last 14 years that I have been in this business.

Thank you for taking the time to read this,