Hello again! Hope everyone has been enjoying this lovely weather we've been having lately. On this post I wanted to talk a little about what most know as "kennel cough". First off, kennel cough goes by several different names. The most commonly used terms to describe "kennel cough" in the veterinary practice are canine infectious tracheobronchitis or canine respiratory disease complex. The important thing to know about this complex disease is that it is most often caused by more than one organism.
Here is a list of organisms that can cause "kennel cough"
-Bordetella bronchiseptica (bacterial)
-Mycoplasma spp. (bacterial)
-Staphylococcus zooepidemicus (bacterial)
-Canine distemper virus
-Canine respiratory coronavirus
-Canine herpes virus
(see citation below)
As you can see there are MANY organisms that can cause "kennel cough". I often get the question as to why I diagnose some dogs with kennel cough, who have also had their "kennel cough" vaccine. The "kennel cough" vaccine should more appropriately be called the "Bordetella" vaccine, which as you know is a common cause of kennel cough. In addition, if your dog is vaccinated with his or her annual vaccine (DA2PP+CV) then they are also protected against 4 other causes (distemper, parainfluenza, coronavirus and adenovirus). I should note that this still does not mean your dog can't get kennel cough. Depending on your pets natural immunity, protection may only be partial. Meaning they may get kennel cough but the severity won't be as bad as it would be without the vaccine.
Unfortunately, full protection cannot be achieved with any vaccine because there are so many issues to take into account with this disease complex. So we all try our best to do what we can to prevent an infection from happening. Boarding facilities, grooming salons, pet stores, dog parks are all risk factors. This shouldn't prevent you from allowing your dog to visit these places, afterall that's no fun for them! This is why it is so important to vaccinate your pet to reduce that risk.
If your dog does end up getting canine respiratory disease complex treatment is approached in several different ways. Sometimes if the infection is minor the disease can be self-limiting. In other words, the dog will get better on its own. This is more often seen in those dogs that have been previously vaccinated. Many veterinarians approach treatment differently. Some may prescribe antibiotics if they feel a bacterial component is more likely involved or cough suppressants if they feel this will make the dog more comfortable. Sometimes radiographs are taken to see the extent of the disease but this all depends on severity.
As always, please let us know if you have any questions. Enjoy the sun out there with your furry friends.
Reference : https://oregonvma.org/files/Kommedal-Canine-Infectious-Respiratory-Disease-Complex.pdf