WHAT IS CANINE COUGH?
Canine cough is a highly contagious upper respiratory disease that is spread through the air by one of three infectious agents. It can also be transmitted via hands or clothing. The incubation period is roughly three to 10 days and an infected pet may be contagious for three weeks after showing the first signs of illness. The main symptom is a hacking cough, sometimes accompanied by sneezing and nasal discharge, which can last from a few days to several weeks.
Just as with a common cold, your pet's immune system can be weakened by canine cough, making him or her more susceptible to other disease, especially in puppies and older dogs.
HOW IS IT CURED?
Canine cough cannot be cured and must run its course. You should, however, take your dog to the vet in case they wish to prescribe a cough suppressant or antibiotics to aid in the prevention of a secondary infection.
DOES CANINE COUGH OCCUR ONLY IN PET CARE FACILITIES?
No, but since these viruses can be anywhere and can travel for considerable distances through the air, they can affect any dog, even one that stays at home. But canine cough is most likely to occur when the concentration of dogs is much greater, such as when playing in the park, staying at a boarding kennel or dog daycare, and even the vet's office. Your dog can develop immunity to the disease with repeated exposure, and only a fairly small percentage of exposed pets are affected.
IS CANINE COUGH A CONSTANT PROBLEM?
No, it is mostly seasonal during summer and holiday vacations when pets spend the most time in pet care facilities. It can become epidemic and your veterinarian may note they have seen an increased number of dogs suffering from the symptoms throughout this time.
CAN MY DOG BE VACCINATED AGAINST THIS VIRUS?
Yes, but it is not a preventative vaccine. This vaccination known as bordetella is routinely used as part of an adult dog's yearly checkup. Puppies are vaccinated for canine cough in combination with distemper, hepatitis, and parvovirus in a series of immunizations. If your pet frequently spends time in daycare, boarding, or grooming facilities, a booster is required every six months. Please be aware that the vaccination will take several days to become effective in your pet's system, so be sure to visit your veterinarian in advance of any daycare, boarding, or grooming visits.
CAN THE DAYCARE OR KENNEL COMPLETELY PREVENT CANINE COUGH?
The spread of canine cough can be minimized, but not completely prevented. A good pet care facility will recommend or require immunization, not admit obviously sick dogs, and follow a proper cleaning and sanitization routine.
You have the right to expect a pet care facility to provide the best possible care, just as that facility has a right to expect you to accept financial responsibility should your pet contract canine cough.
Canine cough is an often misunderstood disease in dogs,
sometimes improperly referred to as "kennel cough".
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