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Tracheobronchitis or Kennel Cough


Kennel cough is a much discussed and unfortunately common disease seen particularly in dogs socialising in groups.

However, owing to vaccine developments, this unpleasant and contagious disease can be controlled and prevented.


Infectious tracheobronchitis, or 'kennel cough' as it is better known, is typically characterised by a harsh hacking cough and general ill health.

Kennel cough can be caused by numerous infectious agents, however, 80-90% of cases are associated with either parainfluenza, Bordetella bronchiseptica or both.

Apart from the clinical illness, kennel cough, can itself also result in long-term persistent infection and has the capacity to spread very quickly, particularly in situations where lots of dogs are in close confinement.

How does kennel cough spread?

A parallel can be drawn between transmission of the human cold and kennel cough. The infectious organisms sit in the exhaled air of an infected dog, carried within microscopic water droplets.

A susceptible dog inhales these infectious agents, which then attach to the lining of the trachea and upper airway passages. These agents multiply rapidly resulting in damage to the respiratory tract.



Kennel cough is of even greater concern in very young puppies as infection can progress to fatal pneumonia.

Treatment

Antibiotics are often used, as are anti-inflammatories and occasionally cough suppressants. Although antibiotics may alleviate the clinical signs, they usually do not clear the infection totally and the infection can still spread from dog to dog.

Vaccine advancements means that we now have a single dose vaccination offering year-long protection to dogs. It is given in droplet form in the nostril. Prevention of kennel cough is far easier than cure.