Kennel Cough is the common name for Infectious Bronchitis in dogs. It is a highly contagious disease which can affect any dog, of any breed, shape, size or age. Like influenza in humans there are many varieties of the disease and it can pass more easily in areas where there are more dogs, (dog shows, training classes, pack walks, or boarding kennels) which is why it has earned the common name Kennel Cough.
You will realise your dog is unwell as dogs which have picked up Kennel Cough develop a very dry hacking cough which can last for several weeks. As with ‘flu in people, you can expect sleepless nights as your dog may be off his food, have a runny nose or runny eyes, tired and disinterested, running a high temperature. Kennel Cough can usually be shaken off in a fit and healthy dog, but those with a lowered immune system may struggle and this illness can prove fatal.
If your dog develops Kennel Cough you should seek the advice of your vet in the first instance to confirm that his general well being is sufficient to shake the illness off and to ensure that antibiotics can be provided if they are appropriate. It often takes 4-6 weeks for the illness to pass but your dog will remain contagious for up to 3 months!
A vaccination for Kennel Cough is available from your vet and will go some way towards protecting your dog. As there are so many strains of the disease it’s not 100% failsafe. The vaccine is administered by squirting up your dog’s nose rather than injected into the skin, and it will take a week or so to become fully effective.