The Truth About Kennel Cough

Kennel cough (KC) is a common ailment in dogs equivalent to cold or flu in humans. It is caused by a bacteria that can live in the respiratory tract of infected dogs.  It is highly contagious and is spread via aerosol when infected animals cough or in their saliva.  Just as humans contract illnesses, kennel cough can be caught by being exposed to areas where infected dogs have been.
     – Dry, “non-productive” cough
     – Coughing and gagging or retching
     – Abnormal bouts of coughing in repeated intervals
     – Rapid breathing
     – Lethargic
     – Not eating
     – Sneezing, runny nose and runny eyes
     Common Places For KC Exposure:
     – Veterinarian Office
     – Dog Daycare and Boarding Facilities
     – Dog Parks
     – Pet Stores
     – Walking trails where dogs frequent
     – Homes and yards with an infected dog
The Facts:
– The potential for infection is there any time your dog is around an infected dog.
– The incubation period for KC is 2-10 days meaning a dog could have the virus and infect other dogs while showing no signs of illness.
– There are multiple strains of KC and the vaccination, not all are completely covered by the vaccine.
– Vaccination usually shortens the course of the disease and prevents more serious broncho-pneumonia.
– Dogs with weaker immune systems (puppies and older dogs) are more susceptible to the bacteria.
– Complete recovery can take up to 3 weeks. Proper treatment will prevent symptoms from getting worse and infecting other dogs.
What To Do When You Think Your Dog Has KC:
1) Call the vet to set up a time for treatment and advise them you think it has kennel cough.  They may ask you to wait with the dog in the car until they are ready to see you to prevent exposure to the other animals in the waiting room.
2) Call any boarding/training/play care/grooming facility you have visited in the last week to let them know–this can help them keep other doggies healthy.
3) Follow the doctor’s instructions and treatment plan to ensure a complete recovery.
4) As a courtesy to others, keep your dog away from boarding/training/play care/grooming facilities and dog parks until your dog is finished with ALL the medicine and cough free for at least 72 hours.
KC and We Talk Dog:
We Talk Dog is an open facility where dogs interact in groups. Our facility, like any other common place listed above is at risk for an infected dog expose the virus to other dogs. By bringing your dog to WTD (or the common places listed above), they run the risk or catching KC.
WTD Cleaning Policy – WTD disinfects the entire building twice daily. All  bedding and suites for borders is disinfected each morning. WTD uses a product called ProVet Logic which we believe is the best product on the market.
While we maintain the cleanliness of our facility, we cannot guarantee another dog won’t bring an illness into it. The dogs are under constant observation and as soon as one exhibits any kind of abnormal symptoms, the dog is removed from the group and isolated. Owners are immediately called to pick up their dog and in certain cases, we will transport the dog to one of our local veterinarian partners.
Again, our veterinarian partners equivocate this to a common cold or flu. With proper education, the current WTD procedures and proper veterinary treatment of our dogs, we can reduce exposure as much as possible.
*Thank you to Dr. Michael Hoke and Dr. Jennifer Dexter of Hoke Animal Clinic and Dr. Michael Stowe of Montclair Animal Clinic for your counsel putting this information together.