Monday, June 4, 2012

Kennel Cough

A story aired on the local news this weekend about an El Sobrante veterinary hospital that had to shut down its boarding facility due to a particularly virulent strain of kennel cough. Since then we have received several inquiries regarding kennel cough and the best way to protect against it. We wanted to take the opportunity to address the issue and respond to some of the more frequently asked questions.

Has Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care seen any dogs with kennel cough recently?
Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care follows routine protocols to minimize the spread of infectious disease even before clinical signs may be visible. We do not currently have any outbreaks of kennel cough here and have not treated any recent cases of kennel cough from any of the local boarding facilities.

What is kennel cough?
Kennel cough is a broad term covering any infectious or contagious condition of dogs where coughing is one of the major clinical signs. Kennel cough is air borne and socializing causes the viruses and bacteria to spread. This is why it is often seen in dogs who have recently boarded, hence the name "kennel cough".  But boarding facilities are not the only places that dogs are at risk for contracting kennel cough - grooming facilities, dog parks, and dog shows can also contribute to the spread of the virus.

While kennel cough itself may be considered a "mild" condition, pets with coughs should be monitored closely for any additional symptoms, such as: lack of appetite, lethargy, a cough that worsens or changes, vomiting, and diarrhea. A combination of any of these symptoms may indicate more serious conditions such as pneumonia. If your dog is coughing the best thing to do is have him checked by a veterinarian.

How do I protect my dog?
The vaccine for kennel cough is called Bordetella and it is recommended for all dogs that interact with other dogs. The vaccine provides protection but it does not guard against all strains and forms of kennel cough. This is why a dog can still contract kennel cough - even if they have been vaccinated. While this current outbreak seems far away, it is still in Contra Costa County and the safe thing to do for the time being would be to avoid unnecessary socializing with other dogs - including dog parks and grooming facilities. Make sure your dog is vaccinated.

It is a privilege to serve pet owners who are so proactive in regards to their pet's health. Asking questions and being on the alert is important to preventive health care. We are here when you need us; so please do not ever hesitate to pick up the phone when you have a question: 925.866.8387. Our goal is to work with you as a team to keep your pet healthy and happy.

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