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Kennel Cough


Mark Hale, DVM

1661 E. Mt. Gilead Rd.

Bolivar, Missouri  65613




            Summertime brings us lots of fun activities like family vacations, barbecues, and weekend getaways.  These can often be shared with our canine friends.  Summer also seems to bring an increase in the number of cases of infectious bronchitis, known mainly as "kennel cough."

            Kennel cough, accurately termed "infectious canine tracheobronchitis," is caused by a group of viruses and bacteria.  It is spread by aerosols or "in  the air," so it is very contagious in confined areas.  Places where dogs are confined together such as boarding kennels, groomers, shelters, and veterinary clinics pose an increased risk of spread.  Dogs can also contract it easily by being out with other pets in areas like the park, family gatherings and rest areas.

            Early symptoms can include a dry hacking cough, often made worse with exercise or excitement.  This usually progresses to a congested "honking" type of cough with lots of phlegm and mucous.  Very young or very old dogs or dogs with chronic heart or respiratory problems can quickly die from complications of this disease. 

            Prevention of this condition is by avoiding contact with affected dogs and by vaccination.  Vaccines are available in either injectable or intranasal forms, much like the flu vaccines for humans.  The first year two doses are best.  Annual boosters are needed.  If your companion never encounters other dogs and no boarding is planned, you may choose not to have the vaccination.  However, if boarding, grooming, or other socialization or contact is expected, I would recommend the vaccination.  Pets with chronic heart and/or respiratory problems or breeds prone to respiratory problems such as Pugs, Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers should also consider the added protection of this vaccination.

            If you have any questions about this or other subjects concerning your pet's health, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Hale.  He can help you make an informed decision as to the preventive health care of your best friend.