Cough Drop Anyone? Canine Cough Revisited…..

Hang on… please don’t skip by this post because you got your dog vaccinated for the cough. Please read on….

Ladies and gentlemen… I am here to tell you that canine cough DOES happen, vaccinated or not! So sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s true. Canine cough, also known as kennel cough or tracheobronchitis, is characterized as an inflammation of the upper respiratory system and has many strains not covered by the vaccines we give. I call it canine cough because I don’t think it’s all that fair that ‘kennels’ get all of the blame for it. Truth is; it is an airborne disease that spreads very quickly among dogs in close quarters. Please DON’T immediately assume that your boarding kennel, daycare, vet office, or dog park are not kept clean should your dog become infected with a cough.

Exposure to canine cough can happen anywhere; on a walk when you meet up with an infected dog with an unsuspecting owner, at the beach when your dog Fido is flirting with ever so hot Fifi, at the Vet’s office, while your dog is boarding, at daycare, etc etc. The absolute worst thing about canine cough is that there is a 5 to 10 day incubation period. That means, that your dog could have canine cough, but you will not realize it for at least 5 to 10 days from the time they were exposed.

Canine cough is basically a bad cold. All vets treat it pretty much the same; a round of antibiotics to keep the cough from becoming something more, and usually a cough suppressant. Other than that the cough just needs to run its course, usually about 10 days.

If we hear a dog coughing, the conversation goes something like this… dog says, “cough cough”, K9 Crew member says, “Your dog is coughing”, owner says, “oh well, he was eating a rawhide bone last night and I think he has a piece stuck in his throat”, K9 Crew member says, “I think your dog has canine cough, I’m sorry you have to take them home”, owner says, “oh no that can’t be, he has been vaccinated!”….. sorry the vaccine does not always cover it.

Here is what canine cough sounds like:

The unfortunate truth is that vets don’t always explain the canine cough vaccine thoroughly or that dogs can still get a strain of canine cough not covered by the vaccine given. They also don’t explain the seriousness of just how contagious canine cough is. It should be explained that dogs infected with the cough should not continue to play with the neighbors and friends dogs while coughing, that owners should not bring an infected dog to the dog park because they feel so badly that the dog is cooped up. You can help to squash the cough by keeping your dog inside and away from other dogs 100%.

Here’s how you can help to keep K9 Kaos canine cough free this year:

  • Listen to your dog, if you hear coughing on and off through the night please don’t bring them to daycare, even you think they just have a hairball.
  • If you hear your dog coughing, call your vet.
  • If your dog has been to a boarding kennel that has been exposed to canine cough, please cancel your dog’s daycare schedule for at least 7 days after you pick them up from the kennel.
  • If your dog plays with a friend or family dog that you think may have kennel cough, please keep your dog away from other dogs for at least 7 days.
  • Please do not think that your dog could not possibly have canine cough simply because they have been vaccinated.

K9 Kaos has made the difficult decision to make the canine cough vaccine optional.  I found it hard to require something that does not necessarily protect your dog. We recommend that you discuss this with your vet to determine together whether or not it is the right vaccine for your dog.

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