Active VetCare

Is my dog at risk from kennel cough?

Factsheet Categories:
Dog Conditions and General Care

What is kennel cough?

Kennel cough is a highly contagious disease of the dog’s respiratory tract. Dogs of all ages can be affected and signs include a harsh, dry, convulsive cough – very much like whooping cough in humans.

The disease can be caused by a number of bacterial and viral agents including, Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza virus which account for approximately 80% of the pathogens involved with this disease.

The coughing can last for several weeks and during this time more serious complications, such as pneumonia, may arise. In puppies or older dogs, or where there are other health problems, such complications can occasionally prove fatal.

  • Provides a full twelve months of immunity

How can my dog catch the disease?

Kennel cough is passed from dog to dog via airborne droplets - a case of ‘coughs and sneezes spreading diseases’ - and by direct nose to nose contact.

Dogs are at risk whenever and wherever they gather together – at boarding kennels, shows, training classes, in the park, even in vets’ waiting rooms!

Low dose intranasal vaccine (non-injected)
Can be used in pregnant bitches and in three weeks of age

  • Administered into one nostril only
  • Protection within 72 hours of vaccination
  • What treatments are available?

Little can be done to cure the disease once it has started; you simply make the dog as comfortable as possible and try to control the cough. In more severe cases, other drugs (e.g., antibiotics) may be needed to control secondary complications.
The disease normally subsides after a few weeks, but it will have been an extremely unpleasant experience for both dog and owner.
Ask your vet about vaccination. Your dog may need protecting.

Prevention is better than cure

If your dog is likely to be in close contact with other dogs, you should consider having him/her vaccinated. People often think that their dog does not come in contact with other dogs but is this really true?
When out for a walk on the beach or in the park, do they meet/pass by other dogs?

Do the dogs sniff each other?

The answer in most instances is Yes! Vaccination offers the best protection against Kennel Cough. The intranasal vaccine (a tiny drop of liquid introduced gently into one or both nostrils) stimulates immunity to Bordetella bronchiseptica and/or canine parainfluenza virus (the two major causes of kennel cough) within a number of days and provides continuous protection for twelve months.
Vaccination is highly recommended for dogs that are to be boarded, dogs attending training classes and/or shows. Most boarding kennels now require evidence of vaccination.