Is my dog at risk of getting canine cough? | Companion Animal Veterinary Hospital

Is my dog at risk of getting canine cough?

Matt Young's picture
Sick dog with a cough

People often believe that their dog is not at risk from getting canine cough because their dog "never leaves the yard". The opposite is actually true. The vast majority of dogs I see with canine cough are in this exact situation ie. they have little to no contact with other dogs.

What is canine cough?

Canine cough is an infectious disease of dogs which is also known as kennel cough, or infectious tracheobronchitis. We no longer call it kennel cough because dogs don't need direct contact with other dogs to get it.

It is a bit like a cough or cold that we humans get. It causes a really nasty hacking, sometimes honking cough. It is a particular problem in puppies and debilitated animals that are more likely to develop pneumonia which makes them extremely sick.

There are lots of strains of bacteria and viruses that can cause canine cough.

Canine cough is spread via aerosol. It is an airborne infection that can spread around the neighbourhood very quickly. A coughing dog sprays it out as they cough and it will then travel through the air to infect another dog. I have seen many dogs that get it just from being out in the yard going to the toilet or they've been at the park and a dog in the opposite side of the park has coughed just once & then their dog has got infected.

"My dog can't have canine cough as it has been vaccinated"

Unfortunately this is incorrect. Vaccination does reduce the chance of your dog getting canine cough, but the vaccination is not 100% effective. There are many strains of canine cough and the worst ones are covered by the vaccine but some are not.

Why Vaccinate?

I believe that all dogs should be vaccinated for canine cough. The more dogs that are vaccinated, the less likely it is that canine cough will spread through our community.

While the vaccinated dogs can still get canine cough, it tends to be less severe and run a shorter course in vaccinated dogs. Unfortunately the immunity against canine cough is not long lasting and all dogs need a booster vaccine every 12 months.

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