Canine Cough

The name?

You will often hear people say ‘Kennel Cough’, but we prefer to call it ‘Canine Cough’.

This is because the virus is airborne and can travel for some distance. This means that it can be anywhere, including parks, homes, back yards, veterinary clinics & cinemas (just kidding).

Admittedly, a higher number of dogs in close proximity can increase the likelihood of the spread, which is probably why it suffers from the name ‘Kennel Cough‘. However, as the virus is not explicitly specific to Kennels, we prefer to call it ‘Canine Cough’.

The sound?

The sound of a coughing dog is not particularly pleasant.  We can explain (for those who have never heard it before) the sound in two ways.

  1. Sometimes it sounds a little like when a piece of food lodges in the throat. (You know, those times when they ‘breathe in’ the food instead of chewing slowly and delicately). Consequently there is much retching to dislodge the item.
  2. Other times it is more like the sound they make when they pull too hard on the lead. Wheeze, cough, choke, cough, relax, pull, repeat!

These charming noises can pretty much explain what Canine Cough sounds like. Of course the above examples provide only brief episodes of coughing, whereas, Canine Cough can be persistently persistent. Clearly, each individual (much like humans) will display varying degrees of symptoms, however, in all cases (again much like humans) the cough is worse in the morning and evening.  

The Vaccine?

ALL dogs who board or play with us MUST have up-to-date vaccinations (which includes Influenza). This is a legal requirement to board with us. However, the flu vaccine (much like the human flu shot) only covers certain strains of influenza. In particular, the high-end nastier ones.  

Therefore, there are still many strains of flu, hovering, ready for inhaling.

The incubation period of Canine Cough (5 to 7 days) makes it very tricky for us to know if we are checking-in a carrier of Canine Cough, or not. Obviously if they are showing signs of illness, we can ask customers to make alternate arrangements.  

Historically we have not had many cases of Canine Cough at NBKC (although 2019 was a little problematical – regionally). But we take coughs very seriously and have a system in place that enables us to keep our customers informed and abreast of any possible problems as, and if, they arise. This includes pre & post board emails and openly discussing anything of concern at check-in or out. This enables our customers to make informed choices about whether to cancel (pre-board), and what to watch for (post-board).

What to do?

Now that you know what the cough sounds like, and that vaccines simply do not cover all strains of the flu, what do you do if you suspect that your dog has Canine Cough?  

First up, symptoms are self-limiting, this means that your dog will recover in 5 to 7 days. However, elderly, infirm or very young dogs are at high risk of complications, so we recommend a veterinary visit, as a precaution.  

Secondly, please let us know (so that we can inform other boarders).

Thirdly, monitor carefully. If your dog is usually healthy and active we recommend that you ignore the cough (as much as you can) and, instead, watch for the following:

  • Are they eating and drinking, normally? Good.
  • Are their faeces and urine normal? Good.

If so, then their symptoms will dissipate over 5 to 7 days – the coughing will ease and your ‘normal’ pooch will return.

On the other hand, if you witness lethargy, vomiting or diarrhoea – this is NOT healthy. Therefore, we recommend a veterinary visit.

Finally

Keep in Touch!

It is extremely important to us that our customers let us know of any post-board issues as this helps us manage communications efficiently and effectively.  

As with the human cold or flu, where some people will get it, and others won’t, dogs are pretty much the same. Only a small handful will succumb to a virus while others will bounce around without a care.  

If you want to find out more about Canine Cough, Wikipedia provides a great explanation. (However, please excuse them from calling it ‘Kennel Cough’!) Canine Cough.