Kennel Cough Revealed

Here at The Pet Campus, Inc. dogs have been coming and going for vacations, grooming and training for 18 years. Daycare is the newer activity at only 15 years. All of that time and all of those dogs have taught me a thing or two about kennel cough. (In addition to a degree in Biology, 30 hours of educational course on vaccines, and a constant passion for learning.) The most important fact is that the type of illness that is termed 'kennel cough' does not live in the physical structure. Clean concrete, chain link and drywall do not cause kennel cough; dogs do.

Kennel cough refers to any individual or combination of viral, bacterial, and/or mycoplasma infection of a dog’s respiratory tract. Bordetella bronchiseptica is the bacterium most commonly associated with kennel cough and is responsible for creating infectious bronchitis in dogs. Ironically, Bordetella Pertussis is the human bacterium, which is responsible for whooping cough. Additionally, Parainfluenza, Adenoviruses, Influenza viruses from various sources, other bacterial infections, and a host of other culprits can cause respiratory illness in dogs. Unfortunately, any time a respiratory illness is found in a dog it is called, “kennel cough” and both a cough suppressant and antibiotics are usually given just to be safe since the origin could be viral or bacteria or both.

Viruses are extremely contagious among dogs in day care because of the obvious exchange of mucosal fluids during play and sharing water pails. Respiratory illness is linked to kennels because of the enclosed space housing multiple dogs. Certainly if you walked your dog around your neighborhood and pass a sick dog, the chance of your dog catching the illness is not as great as if the dogs were nose to nose next to each other in a confined area. Anywhere dogs congregate are potential hotspots for respiratory illness including dog parks, pet supply stores, and even vet offices.

World-renowned veterinary immunologist, Dr. Ronald Schultz (who I have met and been in the audience of his lectures of multiple times) has stated that, “kennel cough is not a vaccinatable disease.” Additionally, “many animals receive “kennel cough” vaccines that include Bordetella and canine parainfluenza (CPI) and canine adenovirus 2 (CAV-2) every 6-9 months without evidence that this frequency of vaccination is nece