NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

June 14, 2013

Protect your pet from kennel cough

Vacation time is finally here. If your family includes a dog, then you’ve made plans for Fido, too. You remembered to book the boarding kennel or find a hotel that allows dogs or a dog-friendly campsite. In any case, the lodging probably asked you to bring Fido’s vaccination records, including for kennel cough.

What is kennel cough? If you’re a dog owner, you’ve surely heard this term. Yes, it causes a cough. And yes, it can be associated with kennels. But your pooch can get sick even if he never steps paw inside a kennel. So what’s the scoop?

Kennel cough is an infectious tracheobronchitis of dogs. That means it’s an infection of the large airways, and it’s contagious from dog to dog. Dogs in close proximity are more likely to become infected. Hence the term kennel cough.

However, dogs may be exposed to these germs in other situations, as well. Think of kennel cough like a cold for people. We are more likely to become infected if we’re around other people with a cold, such as on crowded public transportation, visiting a sick friend indoors, or simply out and about being exposed to these germs.

Dogs with kennel cough usually have a recent history of boarding, being at a groomer, playing with dogs at day care or in a dog park, or having been adopted from a shelter or rescue group. Sometimes, though, we are unable to pinpoint the origin.

What makes this more challenging is that dogs can be infectious even when they are not symptomatic. A dog that is recovering from kennel cough can continue to infect other dogs for a couple of weeks after coughing has resolved. So just because that other cute canine in the park looks healthy, that doesn’t mean he can’t pass a doggy social disease to your furry friend.

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