With the summer months, there is an influx of out-of-town canines in our area that already has a great population of dogs. This is great to have more pups, however veterinarians are finding an increased number of reported cases of kennel cough. Bend, Newberg and Sherwood are seeing an increase in reported cases (Bend usually sees 5 in a month however have seen up to 200). Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease among dogs characterized by inflammation of the trachea and bronchi. Clinical signs include harsh hacking cough which can commonly lead to gagging. The cough sounds as
if something is stuck in the dog’s throat. Dogs can start sneezing too.
Dogs in close contact easily spread the disease by coughing or sneezing on each other in areas that have a high volume of dogs, such as parks. The sickness can also spread through items such as food bowls, water dishes, toys and leashes, too. Quarantine is key in preventing the spread of the disease due to it being both airborne and highly contagious. Treatment is necessary as kennel cough can lead to pneumonia in some cases.
Different organisms can lead to kennel cough symptoms, including bordetella bronchiseptica, mycoplasma and parainfluenza.
Dr. Moles, a veterinarian who is treating the current outbreak in Bend said, “Many of his patients with kennel cough have mycoplasma or streptococcus, for which there are no vaccines. Dogs that catch kennel cough usually incubate it between two days and two weeks before the symptoms show up. Still, there’s a better chance dogs won’t get sick if their vaccines are up to date”. The current Bordetella vaccine (also known as the Kennel Cough vaccine) does not cover the current pathogen causing the outbreak. Veterinarians still encourage owners to get their dogs vaccinated, especially since they can take a few days before your dog gets a good immune response.
Call your veterinarian if your dog exhibits any clinical signs of kennel cough!