The name ‘kennel cough’ suggests that dogs are only at risk of contracting this airborne disease if they stay in boarding kennels. Unfortunately, this is a misconception.
The correct name is acute infectious tracheobronchitis – an infectious cough of the upper airways in dogs.
Here are the myths and facts about kennel cough:
MYTH – I don’t put my dog into kennels, so they won’t catch kennel cough
Kennel cough can be more virulent in boarding kennels, due to the large number of dogs being housed together, which is why it’s referred to as kennel cough. However, any dog who mixes with other dogs is at risk of contracting the disease.
FACT – The boarding kennel won’t accept my dog without a vaccination
Boarding kennels have a responsibility to prevent the spread of diseases, which is why most insist on proof of kennel cough vaccination.
Oral and nasal vaccines take effect with differing timescales, so it’s important to ensure you leave sufficient time before checking your dog in at kennels.
MYTH – My dog can’t catch kennel cough as they’ve been vaccinated
Much like vaccinations in humans, the kennel cough vaccine doesn’t eliminate the risk completely, but it will significantly reduce the chance of your dog catching the disease and may help them recover more quickly if they do catch it.
Similarly, as with all vaccines, the more vaccinated dogs that are around, the lower the chance of disease spread.
FACT – Kennel cough can spread in multiple ways
Kennel cough is highly contagious and can be spread through the air – it’s caused by a complex of viruses and a bacteria called Bordetella Bronchiseptica.
When an infected dog barks or coughs, the aerosol spray released is infectious. Direct contact is also a risk, such as sharing of toys or touching noses during play. Shared water bowls can also be a source of contamination.
MYTH and FACT – My dog is fit and healthy, they’d recover easily if they caught kennel cough
Puppies, elderly dogs, and those with medical conditions (whether diagnosed or still in the early stages) are more at risk of complications and severe illness as a result of kennel cough.
As a responsible pet owner, vets recommend protecting your own dog with the vaccine, therefore helping to protect others too.
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