Kennels and coughs

Doug Patterson
Doug Patterson

Almost every dog owner has heard of kennel cough, which causes severe coughing symptoms in dogs and can last for weeks.

Lots of people that I talk to have an understandable misconception that they only need to protect their pooch against kennel cough if he or she is planning to visit kennels. Nowadays, this is not the case.

I would argue that all dogs should be vaccinated against kennel cough – regardless of whether they will ever visit a kennel.

The name is very misleading. It is a hugely common perception amongst loving dog owners that their pet pooch will only contract kennel cough if he or she goes into kennels.

A recent study of kennel cough transmissions showed that the disease was just as common in dogs who had never been in a kennel.

Vets usually believe that Kennel Cough infection will be MORE likely in a dog who has never been into kennels, because the dogs who go into kennels are normally vaccinated for the disease!

Kennel cough is a very infectious airborne disease, and therefore spreads easily. You only need to walk across the path from an infected dog (or even have an infected dog walk past your own garden) to transmit infection.

Kennel cough is very common: we started to see cases this week hence me writing this article. It is now officially the start of the kennel cough season, we would expect to continue to see a number of cases over the coming weeks, so unvaccinated dogs, beware.

As with so many illnesses that we treat, it is preventable. Vaccination doesn’t even involve a needle, it is administered as a nasal drop – the same method that medics are starting to use to immunise children against ‘flu.

Vaccination will vastly reduce your dog’s risk of an infection because it prevents the nasty, virulent strain. Even if your pooch were to catch the bug after a vaccination, it will end up much less severe and result in him or her getting better more quickly.

Vaccination lasts for a whole year, and can be conveniently repeated alongside your dog’s annual booster jab.