Canine Cough – (Bordatella and Para-influenza)
Canine cough is the most common infectious conditions in dogs. It is a highly contagious respiratory condition that can be best compared to the human version of
a cold (which is bacterial) or influenza (which is viral). Bordatella is bacterial (requiring contact to spread) and Para-influenza is viral and is airborne.
Melbourne City has an outbreak of canine cough every winter when it’s cold and immunities are at a low, and every summer when the wind is warm and dry
(carrying para-influenza more readily). The versions of canine cough develop constantly, and at last count there were 17 different strains floating around.
Impossible to avoid
Your child goes to school and can catch a cold or influenza; you can catch a cold or influenza at your place of work, on the plane, or from members of your family.
Although there is a ‘flu vaccine, unfortunately no vaccine has yet been found for the human cold, and we just have to struggle through a week of misery until it runs
Just like you and your family, your well exercised dog will, at some stage in his life, catch both bordatella and para-influenza. He can catch it from contact with another
dog in the park, at puppy school, from your shoes if you’ve walked through it in the street, or even from a dog that has canine cough living up to 5 kilometres away
(yes, it’s airborne!). So, as you can see, it is almost impossible to avoid getting canine cough at some stage, even if your dog does not leave your backyard.
The good news is ..
As mentioned earlier, canine cough merely is the dog version of our cold and ‘flu. Fortunately for dogs, there IS a vaccine that can be administered each year which helps
dramatically – though it must be noted that these vaccines ARE NOT ABLE TO PREVENT your dog contracting canine cough – however they can REDUCE SYMPTOMS by up to 80%.
This means that instead of your dog suffering from a high temperature, runny nose, loss of appetite, possible pneumonia ... he will generally only develop a deep, noisy,
dry sounding cough, resulting in a bit of yellowish bile coming up occasionally. There is generally no loss of appetite, temperature or any other symptoms.
Unlike humans, who can get a cold every year, and the ‘flu every few years, a dog will build up his own immunity to bordatella and para-influenza after getting them,
and it is very rare for him to get a second bout of either for the remainder of his life. This means that a dog will generally get two cases of canine cough during his
life, and then that is it. Finished.
It is very difficult to tell whether your dog has bordatella or para-influenza. They only way to correctly diagnose either is by doing a throat swab, which then has to
be cultured for 6 weeks, by which time of course the dog has recovered fully. Therefore, if you do take your dog to the vet, he will generally prescribe an all round
antibiotic to prevent any further developments i.e. pneumonia. He will also advise you to keep your dog away from other dogs for a period of time, as of course it is
highly infectious to dogs who have not yet had it. The noisy cough can be treated with Benadryl Cough Mixture – which makes your dog sleepy and more relaxed.
"My dog got Kennel Cough at XYZ Boarding Kennel I’m never going back there again!!"
Sadly we do hear this a lot ... clients come to view our facility and express their anger/dismay at the fact that their dog came down with canine cough at their
previous boarding kennel, and that they will never take their dog back there again. We are quick to point out to these clients that although we are absolutely
spotless at Mornington Lodge, and only guests that have had their full vaccinations are admitted .. we can still occasionally have guests coming down with canine
cough whilst they are here or shortly after returning home.
This ONLY occurs because another dog coming in to us for a holiday has it already – and as canine cough takes 7 to 10 days to show any symptoms (the loud cough)
we can easily accept a perfectly healthy-looking dog from an owner who has been socialising him in the park daily – he has caught canine cough – and we do not know
he has it until 7 to 10 days later. By this time it is too late, he has passed it on to any guests here who have not already had it.
So ... that is the story of Canine Cough – unfortunately because it is airborne, and because dogs do not show signs of it when they have caught it for such a
long time – we cannot avoid having it here from time to time. As long as you put it into the same category as the common cold however, and remember that unlike us,
dogs only get around 20% of the symptoms due to the fact that they were vaccinated, then you can treat it accordingly.