Frequently asked questions

What It Is?

Kennel Cough, or infectious tracheobronchiitis, is a contagious respiratory illness. It’s airborne so anywhere dogs are together, they can contract kennel cough (dog park, daycare, veterinary offices, training groups, etc.) Symptoms are cold like with a cough, sometimes strong and “honking” sounding, runny nose, sneezing, lethargy, loss of appetite, sometimes a low fever. Basically, it’s the common cold. Just like children’s daycare centres and schools, once one child get sick it seems to spread quick. The good news, it usually resolves itself on its own, however it’s always best to have your veterinarian rule out other causes for the cough. Other conditions can cause a cough and may appear to be kennel cough, when they are in fact not. Allergies, excessive dust, or other nasal irritants, in addition to other infectious diseases can cause symptoms that appear to be kennel cough.

Does this mean my daycare is not clean?

Kennel cough can take from 3-10 days to show symptoms, so it’s possible your dog picked it up in many different places. As noted from PetMD, “Even in the most hygienic, well ventilated, spacious kennels the possibility of a dog acquiring Kennel Cough exists. Kennel Cough can be acquired from your neighbor's dog, from a Champion show dog at a dog show, from the animal hospital where your dog just came in for treatment of a cut paw. So try not to blame the kennel operator if your dog develops Kennel Cough shortly after that weekend stay at the kennel! There may have been an infected dog, unknown to anyone, that acted as a source for other dogs in the kennel.” The best prevention is a strong and vibrant immune system. At The Hound Lounge, we disinfect water bowls and toys often throughout the day and thoroughly every night. We mop floors and wash playground equipment with Benefect disinfectant, which is safe for use in children and pet daycares but strong enough to kill HIV and bordetella viruses. We regularly open the big doors and allow fresh air to breeze in and help keep the air fresh and clean.

My dog was immunized though?

Much like the human flu shot, bordetella vaccine does protect but it doesn’t ensure that there is no risk. There are various strains and sometimes your dog can pick up one of the strains not covered in the vaccine. The benefit of the vaccine is that if they do get sick, the symptoms are usually far less severe and resolve more quickly. As Dr. Karen Becker, DMV says “As I discussed earlier, kennel cough is most often a complex cocktail of different infections and not just a single infection. Because it's caused by a variety of different bacterial and viral agents, there's no one single vaccine that can provide protection for all of those different infectious agents.”

How to Treat?

Typically, mild cases of kennel cough are treated with a week or two of rest, but a veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection and cough medication to ease the symptoms.

Can I get it?

According to the CDC, bordetella is considered “zoonotic” meaning we can pass it back and forth between us and our pets. That said, generally only humans with a suppressed immune system will contract kennel cough. It’s very rare for humans to get it.

Returning to Daycare?

To be safe, we ask that a dog with confirmed kennel cough not return for a week after symptoms disappear. In this way we are doing our best to contain the spread of infection to other dogs. As always, if your dog is not feeling well, has a runny nose, cough, diarrhea or vomiting, please do not bring them to daycare.

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