Be Aware of Canine Cough

A recent spike in cases of kennel cough is a timely reminder for dog owners to ensure vaccinations are up-to-date for their four-legged friends.

As the use of boarding kennels increases and we start to get out and about with our dogs more, the chance of catching and spreading the virus also increases.

Canine cough, as it is now more acceptably referred to, is a broad term used to describe infectious respiratory diseases in dogs, where a cough is one of the main signs of an infection.

What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms include a dry hacking cough, reduced appetite, lethargy, runny nose, and discharge around the eyes.

Depending on the health of the dog, it can sometimes take several weeks for a full recovery.

How is it transmitted?

Canine cough is highly infectious and can spread quickly, particularly in places where dogs congregate such as dog parks, beaches and kennels.

It can easily be picked up from the environment, through normal dog behaviour such as sniffing and sharing water bowls.

While it is unlikely that canine cough will directly affect you, it is very possible for you to pass it on to other dogs. If you are in contact with a dog that has a cough, follow basic hand-washing practice, and do not touch other dogs.

Because canine cough is so contagious keep infected dogs away from other animals for up to two weeks or as advised by your vet.

What does canine cough sound like?

Canine cough sounds sort of like a “goose honk” followed by a “profound retch”. It is distressing for the dog and owner.

A period of exercise or excitement can trigger a coughing episode which is often mistaken for choking.

Can canine cough be prevented?

An annual vaccination for canine cough will reduce severity of symptoms should your dog contract the virus but it will not stop your dog from becoming infected. It also won’t stop your dog from spreading the disease through micro droplets from coughing and saliva but can help to reduce transmission.

Avoid areas where if you know that you’ve heard of somebody having a dog that’s been affected by canine cough. Similarly, if you suspect your dog may have canine cough, keep your dog at home until professionally diagnosed.

Before bringing your dog to the clinic make sure you let the receptionist know that you suspect it might be canine cough. Follow our instructions to avoid spreading the infection further.