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Kennel Cough (Bordetella)

Just like child daycares, workplaces, markets, etc. with kids and adults getting a “cold”, our dogs can get it too!

Kennel cough (sometimes referred to as canine cough) is a highly contagious respiratory disease. Kennel cough can be contracted at places like the dog park, doggy daycare/boarding facilities, shelter environments, etc. Like the human cold, kennel cough can be spread through airborne transmission, nose-to-nose contact, or sharing food/water bowls. 

If your dog is affected with kennel cough, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • a strong cough, often with a “honking” sound – this is the most obvious symptom

  • runny nose

  • sneezing

  • lethargy

  • loss of appetite

  • low fever

Typically, most pups can fight kennel cough on their own. However, some veterinarians may prescribe antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection and cough medication to ease symptoms.

It is also important to note that if your pup comes down with kennel cough and you have a multi-pet household, it is likely that all dogs in the home have been exposed to kennel cough. 

A vaccine is available for the bordetella bacterium, which is the most common agent to cause kennel cough. Dogs who are frequently boarded, visit doggy day care, compete in canine sports, or otherwise are exposed to large groups of dogs may benefit from the vaccine. The vaccine is available in oral, intranasal, and injectable forms, and depending on the form, it is usually initially given in two doses two to four weeks apart, followed by a booster every six months to a year.

Although most cases of kennel cough are caused by bordetella, some are caused by other agents, including the bacteria bordetella bronchiseptica, canine adenovirus type 2, canine parainfluenza virus, canine respiratory coronavirus, and mycoplasmas, so the vaccine may not prevent your dog from catching the disease. The bordetella vaccine only prevents one strain of kennel cough. 

We do our best at Charming Paws to prevent kennel cough within our facility by using veterinarian-grade cleaners and cleaning as often as possible, especially in peak season months (June and October). However, it is an airborne virus and cannot be entirely prevented. Please know there is a risk of your pup catching kennel cough by attending our facility, like there is at any daycare/boarding facility. 

Please reach out to our staff with any questions or concerns regarding kennel cough! 

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