In addition to having some cases of canine cough at Pawlins, we have also heard through the local pet community that it has been identified at dog parks and parks, and that local veterinary clinics have also reported an uptick in cases. But, all of our dogs are vaccinated for canine cough with the Bordetella vaccine. So, what is canine cough and why are vaccinated dogs contracting it?

While it is not usually serious, especially if caught and treated early, it can be very contagious and can take time to fully recover. There are 2 videos linked at the bottom of this article that you should watch if you are unfamiliar with this illness. Many long-time dog owners understand the signs, symptoms and treatment, but one of the best things that happened during this crazy Covid chaos is that the world is blessed with many first time dog owners. New owners may not understand that although every dog is vaccinated against canine cough with the Bordetella vaccine, they can still acquire the illness. Here is information from the AKC that we feel every dog owner should know.

The Bordetella vaccine is a non-core vaccine that is given to dogs that are frequently exposed to other dogs in boarding or social settings. This is because Bordetella bronchiseptica is the most common bacterial agent responsible for canine cough in dogs. It causes inflammation of your dog’s upper respiratory system. This inflammation leads to coughing and illness and can expose your dog to secondary infections.

Kennel (canine) cough is an all-encompassing term used to depict a multitude of highly contagious respiratory illnesses. It is easily spread from dog to dog through aerosol droplets, direct contact, or contact with contaminated surfaces like food and water bowls, toys, daycare or kennel runs — a bit like how the common cold is spread in grade schools. Your dog is most likely to pick it up in an area where lots of dogs congregate, but your pup can also pick it up from any contaminated environment, and you can bring it home to him if you spend a lot of time around dogs at work or during volunteer opportunities.

The most distinctive symptom of kennel cough is the loud, unmistakable honking cough that dogs develop with the disease. Other symptoms of kennel cough in dogs include a runny nose, sneezing, loss of appetite, lethargy, and a low fever. These symptoms are also similar to those dogs infected with canine distemper and the canine influenza virus, which are much more serious than kennel cough, so make sure you call your veterinarian and explain your dog’s symptoms. Calling ahead will also help your veterinarian prevent the spread of kennel cough in their office, so make sure you follow her instructions when you bring your dog in for a visit.

The good news is that despite kennel cough’s contagious nature, the disease is usually very treatable. Your veterinarian may prescribe rest for your dog, along with cough medicine and possibly antibiotics to prevent any secondary infections from causing complications. Keep in mind that your veterinarian may prescribe more aggressive treatment procedures if your dog is a puppy, a senior, or an immunocompromised dog. Talk to your veterinarian about preventing the spread of kennel cough from an infected dog to other dogs in the house or neighborhood. Your veterinarian will provide a timeline for your pet to complete treatment and quarantine at home while symptoms subside before returning to daycare, dog park or other multi-dog environment. Please do not return to Pawlins until your veterinarian has cleared your pet.

While Bordetella is the most common cause of kennel cough in dogs, it is not the only one. Other bacteria and viruses, including the parainfluenza virus, can also cause kennel cough, which means that even vaccinated dogs can get kennel cough from another source. This is why it is important for owners to be aware of the symptoms of kennel cough, even if their dogs have had the Bordetella vaccine.

At Pawlins we do everything we can to prevent any problems that may occur when you get a large group of dogs together.

  • Only fully vaccinated pets are accepted at Pawlins.
  • We thoroughly clean and disinfect all common areas including the lobby, suites, runs, play yards, bowls and toys after every use with a hospital grade cleaner. Even our outdoor yards are disinfected since we only have K-9 grass which was developed specifically for daycare use by pups.
  • If any dog displays any symptoms such as a cough, runny nose or lethargy, they are moved immediately to River Road Veterinary Hospital and isolated then examined by a veterinarian. The owner is contacted and if the vet feels like the dog requires treatment, that is started and the dog is not allowed to return to Pawlins until they are symptom free.
We believe that the best way to prevent problems is to educate you on what you can do to prevent them in the first place. As many of our clients hear us say… “It’s always better to be proactive, than reactive”.

If your pet is experiencing any signs of upper respiratory illness, including cough, runny nose, sneezing, etc, please do not bring them to Pawlins: take them to their veterinarian and make sure they are cleared for group play before bringing them into Pawlins.

Together, we can reduce the risk to our pets!

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