Is your dog coughing?

Is your dog coughing?….At SVVS we have been seeing quite a few dogs lately who are showing signs of a tracheobronchitis [ an inflammation of the trachea (windpipe) and bronchi (lower lung airways)].

Most of the time these are dogs who have been vaccinated against Kennel Cough caused by Bordetella bronchiseptoca/Parainfluenza…so owners are asking why are they still getting sick?

Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIRD) is an acute infection involving the upper respiratory tract, and is one of the most common causes of respiratory disease in dogs. Several viruses as well as bacteria can be associated with CIRD…only a few of which we can vaccinate against.

The prevalence of various pathogens involved in CIRD differs based on the geographical area…so, in this region, we suspect a “new” virus or bacteria has been introduced, and at SVVS, as well as other veterinary hospitals throughout the area, we are now having patients come in that are coughing, in spite of having been vaccinated against Kennel Cough.

The good news is that ALL infections of this CIRD are usually mild and self-limiting. Only those patients who may already be sick with other diseases, immune suppressed or have other infections in the lung may develop worse signs and/or pneumonia and need more medical care.

For those dogs who get sick and are coughing badly, supportive care, and cough suppressants may help. Usually antibiotics are NOT needed since most of these infections are viral… but depending on the severity of the cough and the medications used, an antibiotic may be advised to prevent worsening of the disease.

The typical symptoms of CIRD may include sneezing, gagging, retching, coughing, eye or nose discharge, and tracheal sensitivity. Symptoms usually last 3-4 days….If you pet starts running a fever, stops eating or has shortness of breath, then medical attention is needed.

CIRD is transmitted via mouth/nose contact with aerosolized respiratory secretions (microscopic droplets in the air) , by direct contact and by contaminated fomites (toys, beds, bowls, water dishes, etc) . People can also spread the disease by transmission on clothing, shoes or hands. The incubation period ( the period from exposure to development of clinical signs) can be as short as 2-3 days, or as long as 10 days. ANY high stress, high density environment where dogs are congregated…dog parks, veterinary hospitals, kennels, grooming facilities, dog shows, and shelters can be sources of this infection.

At SVVS we recommend ALL dogs which frequent dog shows, dog parks, grooming shops or boarding facilities be vaccinated against Canine Distemper and Adenonvirus type 2, Bordetella Bronchiseptica and Parainfluenza virus (Kennel cough), as well as Canine Influenza. These vaccines incorporate many of the potential causes of CIRD; and, while these vaccinations will not prevent ALL disease caused by CIRD, it will keep your dog from getting these more serious sources of respiratory disease. If your dog has not been vaccinated against Kennel Cough within the last six months, we are also recommended they get a booster vaccination against Bordetella bronchiseptica/Parainfluenza since that has seemed to help lessen the spread of this infection.​​​​​​​

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