Recently the media has reported a more dangerous form of “kennel cough” and we’d like to clarify the report a bit.
There are numerous strains of “Kennel Cough.” The term itself encompasses many bacteria (and some viruses) which affect the trachea – most of which belong in the Bordatella bronchiseptica family. This group of bacteria affect the trachea and cause a hacking, wet cough. The bacteria can spread in to the lungs and cause pneumonia, but this usually occurs only when the disease has gone untreated. There is a vaccine that prevents many strains of the disease, although it is possible this new strain is more resistant to the vaccination.
The common wisdom used to be that only dogs who go to boarding facilities or grooming parlors needed the vaccination. However if your dog hangs out with other dogs at dog parks or common trails this new strain may put he or she may be more at greater risk. Regardless of your dog’s normal activities, if your dog suddenly develops a cough, or acts like he/she is gagging, or trying to bring something up, call and get in to the veterinarian. The disease is very contagious, but is very treatable if caught early.
So don’t panic! Don’t change your activities – just make sure your dog is vaccinated and get out there!