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Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is most commonly associated with a bacterial infection caused by the organism Bordetella bronchiseptica. It is estimated that 80 to 90% of the cases of kennel cough are due to this organism. The other 10 to 20% of cases are caused by a variety of other viral infectious agents. Kennel cough has been associated with parainfluenza virus, adenovirus and canine distemper virus as well as the Bordetella bacteria.

The incubation period from the time a dog is exposed until signs appear varies depending on the cause. In general it appears to be about 3 to 5 days with Bordetella. The infection tends to be mild except for a very harsh cough. In some dogs it can lead to pneumonia or more serious signs. Cough suppressants can be used to control the cough and antibiotics may be necessary for infections, or to try to stop the spread of the bacteria if you've got multiple dogs. It is probably a good idea to vaccinate dogs who will be exposed to large numbers of other dogs, such as at field trials, dog shows, obedience classes or the classic cause -- when left in someone else's kennel. The intranasal vaccine is fast acting, providing some protection in as little as 5 days. The injectable version of the vaccine may provide longer immunity. Some vets use both to get maximum protection.

Infectious Tracheobronchitis is extremely contagious and dogs with the disease should be isolated from healthy dogs. If your dog has kennel cough, rest is very important. If a dog with kennel cough is worked too hard, pneumonia can easily develop. Contact your vet. with specific questions or to seek treatment.

None of this information is guaranteed to be accurate -- always consult your veterinarian prior to making a decision on your pet's health.

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