Kennel Cough

Kennel cough, otherwise known as canine cough, canine croup, canine infectious tracheobronchitis, canine parainfluenza infection, canine Bordetella bronchiseptica infection and even, I have heard,’canine whooping cough’ is a common respiratory disease affecting dogs, and related canine species, all around the world. Canine cough is a multifactorial disease caused by a variety of infectious disease organisms that attack the upper respiratory tract (throat, nose, trachea and bronchi) and exacerbated by numerous non-organism factors such as poor-ventilation, overcrowding, low-immunity, high stress, high dust levels and dry air conditions (low humidity). Common organisms implicated in kennel cough infections include the primary infectious disease organisms: parainfluenza 2 virus, canine adenovirus type 2, Bordetella bronchiseptica (a bacteria) and various mycoplasma species as well as a range of secondary bacterial organisms including: Pasteurella, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Bordetella, Mycoplasma, Escherichia coli (E. coli), Klebsiella and Pseudomonas. Occasionally, canineherpesviruses, reoviruses, canine adenovirus type 1 and even canine distemper virus havebeen associated with kennel cough symptoms in dogs.

Kennel cough is generally spread in conditions whereby large numbers of dogs are kept in close proximity to each other (pounds, shelters, pet shops, boarding kennels, breeding facilities, dog clubs, dog shows and multiple-dog households). Usually appearing in unvaccinated (and even vaccinated) dogs 3-10 days after exposure to infected dogs, the disease is characterised by infection and inflammation of the upper airways. Affected dogs develop a fever; enlarged throat and neck lymph nodes (generally not appreciated bytheir owners) and a cough. This cough is harsh and hacking (often described as ‘honking’ or ‘hoarse’) and severe, explosive bouts of coughing will often be followed with a gagging, retching action (expectoration), whereby the dog looks like it is attempting to bring something up. The pet may indeed bring up something (a patch of white foam or phlegm) but, more commonly, the animal will swallow the expectorant and you won’t see anything brought up. Bouts of coughing can often be so severe and persistent that owners will fear their dog is choking and/or unable to catch its breath!The severity and frequency of the coughing is often exacerbated by dry air conditions, heavy panting, exercise (exercised dogs pant dry, irritating air across their inflamed airway linings) and pressure on the throat (e.g. the owner pulling on a lead and collar). A watery nose and or eye discharge may also be seen. Generally, most animals affected with canine cough will still appear to be bright and active and healthy-looking to their owners, despite the nasty cough, however, some animals may become more sleepy and lethargic than normal and go off their food a bit, as a result of the fever and illness. Generally the disease is self limiting (it usually goes away on its own in 7 to 10 days) but, occasionally, some dogs will progress to severe secondary complications, including pneumonia or chronic, long-term airway infection and irritation (a harsh cough that, quite simply, won’t go away).


Information from: Pet Informed


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