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Kennel cough explained

In this guest blog, Vet4life vet Jenny Lowe answers frequently asked questions about kennel cough.

What is kennel cough?

Kennel cough is a common infection in dogs which can be passed between them. It is not usually caused by a single bacteria or virus but often a mixture of different ones, and just like our colds, it is passed on by coughing and sneezing.

How do I know if my dog has kennel cough?

The most common sign is a dry hacking cough which is often worse when excited or exercising.  A bout of coughing can end with a gag and a small amount of frothy phlegm, and we often hear from owners that they think something is stuck in their throat. Most dogs with kennel cough will be well in themselves and have a good appetite although some may get more poorly.

What is the treatment?

Kennel cough is usually self-limiting and most dogs recover in 1-2 weeks without treatment; however it is usually best to get your vet to check your dog to rule out other causes of coughing. In some cases treatment may be given, especially if it is severe or not getting better.

How do I prevent my dog getting it?

If your dog is coming into contact with lots of dogs frequently we recommended a kennel cough vaccine. A small drop is given up the nose and is usually tolerated quite well. The vaccine lasts for one year; however it only protects against some of the bacteria and viruses, so sometimes dogs may still show mild signs of kennel cough but to a lesser extent than if they did not have the vaccine. If your dog does have kennel cough, make sure they don’t come close to other dogs until they have stopped coughing, to reduce the risk of passing it on.

Jenny Lowe MRCVS is a vet at Vet4life which has clinics in Teddington, Shepperton and Surbiton. Please contact them direct if you require further advice or help with your four-legged friends – www.vet4life.co.uk, 020 8977 3955.