In the last month and a half, many dogs in this area have contracted kennel cough.
I know of seven dogs from the local dog park that have gotten it, and who knows how many others that I don’t know about. I've been one of the lucky ones (knock on wood), and Kaiah and Grayson have escaped this round.
A friend told me that someone told her that he would not be coming back to the park because other people don’t vaccinate their dogs. She asked him if he had vaccinated his dog, and he said, “Well, yes, from rabies, but that is it.”
This made me think that maybe I need to talk a little about kennel cough and preventive measures.
How Do Dogs Get Kennel Cough?
Just like humans, dogs can get a virus many different ways. Dogs contract kennel cough when they inhale bacteria or virus particles. These go into their respiratory tract and are typically captured by the mucus coating, but if the larynx and trachea are inflamed, then this coating cannot help.
A few ways that a dog's larynx and trachea can get inflamed are:
- poor ventilation, such as in kennels
- cold temperatures
- exposure to dust or cigarette smoke (yes, it affects your dogs)
One of the distinct symptoms of kennel cough is a seal-like cough. It is persistent and forceful. Other symptoms include sneezing, eye discharge and a runny nose. Sounds like our colds and allergies, right? Typically, dogs with kennel cough will still eat a normal amount and have the same energy level.
How to Treat and Prevent Kennel Cough
The first thing you should do is understand that kennel cough is highly contagious and can easily spread to other dogs. You should immediately call your vet. Sometimes kennel cough will take care of itself without treatment, but some dogs will require antibiotics and some cough medicines. Do not take kennel cough lightly because it can lead to pneumonia.
One way you can help your dog is to get it vaccinated against kennel cough with the Bordetella Vaccine. This vaccine improves the dog’s defenses against kennel cough but does not guarantee it won't get sick, just like our flu vaccine. Some veterinarians recommend the vaccination yearly, and others may recommend it every six months. Check in with your vet, and talk about where you normally take your dog to get the best recommendation.
As for the guy who said he would not come to the dog park because others do not vaccinate their dogs, he should take his own advice to keep his own dog healthy.