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Canine Kennel Cough

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Kennel Cough: a Serious problem that affects most dogs
By: Tippy

Throughout the United States an outbreak of what has been
termed Kennel Cough, also known as Tracheobronchitis,
Bordetellosis, Bordetella or Canine Infectious
Tracheobronchitis, has occurred in canines, affecting upper
respiratory systems. This particular disease has been
observed all over the world in canines, not just in the
United States, and will affect most dogs at least once
during their lifetime.

There are many different things that can cause an outbreak
of Kennel Cough, including Bordetella Bronchiseptica,
Parainfluenza Virus and Mycoplasma. Reovirus, Canine
Adenovirus type 2 and Canine Herpes virus may contribute to
the disease, also. All of these different agents can cause
the symptoms of Kennel Cough, but most cases are the result
of many organisms working together.

Parainfluenza virus is suspected of being the most common
virus to infect canines and cause Kennel Cough. This virus
causes mild symptoms and lasts for six days excluding the
effects of other viruses that may have infected the dog.
There are vaccines that protect somewhat against Kennel
Cough and are known as five way vaccines.

The most common bacteria observed to cause Kennel Cough is
Bordetella Bronchiseptica. Infection can last two to
fourteen days baring any other infection. Once the dog has
been cured of this bacteria it will continue to shed and can
infect other dogs for up to three and a half months.

A dry, hacking cough followed by vomiting is the most common
symptom of Kennel Cough. Some owners of dogs have described
the cough as sounding like honking. The dog may also exhibit
a runny nose. The dog if mildly affected will remain
seemingly healthy aside from the coughing, vomiting and
runny nose. Kennel Cough usually is caught from kennels like
the name suggests and most often when your dog develops this
it will have been recently boarded at a kennel.

In severe cases a dog can become extremely ill. The symptoms
may get worse and include lethargy, fever, loss of appetite,
pneumonia, and in very severe cases, even death. Severe
cases present themselves in animals that have a compromised
immune system or puppies that haven't been vaccinated.

A blood workup will be necessary to determine what virus or
bacteria that may have infected the dog. The dog may be
treated with antibiotic and will be given a bronchodilator
or cough suppressant for a mild case.

Diagnosis is usually based on the symptoms and a history of
recent exposure to other dogs. Bacterial cultures and blood
work can be done to discover the individual agents of the
disease, but because symptoms are not normally severe, these
tests are not routinely performed. In more severe cases
antibiotics and steroids may be used along with
bronchodilators. It is recommended that you use a dog harness
instead of a dog collar while you dog has this disease so that
no more strain than necessary is put on the neck.

To prevent this disease do not expose to other dogs a young
puppy that hasn't had its vaccines yet or a dog that has a
compromised immune system. Get your dog vaccinated against
Kennel Cough; this is the best form of prevention right now
for Kennel Cough. In some cases this disease has been shown
to infect humans, so be careful to wash your hands after
handling a dog.

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