What is canine cough and how is it spread?
Canine Cough is a highly contagious infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract of the dog. Also termed infectious canine tracheobronchitis, this disease is caused primarily by bordetella bronchiseptica, canine parainfluenza virus, and type 2 canine adeno virus. Like the common cold in humans, the organisms that cause canine cough are spread through coughing and sneezing. Your dog can catch the disease simply by being in close proximity to an infected dog. Veterinary hospitals, dog parks, dog shows, humane societies, pet shops, boarding kennels, grooming salons are just some of the places where your dog may come in contact with this debilitating disease.
What are the clinical signs of canine cough?
Initially the infective organisms colonize and irritate the lining of the upper respiratory tract. Coughing, sneezing and retching, often accompanied by a nasal discharge are the common clinical signs of canine cough. The cough is usually described as a deep, hacking cough and can be quite persistent, many times keeping both you and your dog awake all night. In some cases, dogs may run a fever, have a decreased appetite, and demonstrate signs of depression. These clinical signs can last from a few days to several weeks depending on the severity of the disease.
How is canine cough treated?
Several different regimens exist to treat canine cough. Antibiotics, cough suppressants, and anti-inflammatory drugs are often used alone or in combination to treat this disease. Because of the resiliency of the organisms that cause canine cough, response to treatment can be unpredictable and prolonged therapy may be required to bring this disease under control.
How can canine cough be prevented?
Vaccination serves as our best means to prevent canine cough. Different vaccine options do exist for your dog. Intranasal vaccines, are easy and painlessly administered in a single dose by your veterinarian. The vaccine starts to provide protection at the site of infection as early as 48 hours after being administered. Injectable vaccines that work through your dogs bloodstream also exist: however, these vaccines require a series of multiple injections over several weeks.