Kennel cough outbreak

If you haven’t already heard, there has been a kennel cough outbreak around Feilding over the last few weeks.

Unvaccinated dogs are getting hit hard, and even some vaccinated dogs are getting mild doses of the disease. This is likely to be because there are a large number of suspected infectious agents that can cause kennel cough, and vaccines are only available for the most common ones.

The name kennel cough is misleading – it’s not just a disease of dogs visiting boarding kennels. Playing at the park, sniffing other dogs while on walks, even sniffing a post an infected dog has recently coughed on, can all result in infection.

Kennel Cough (or Canine Infectious Cough/Respiratory Disease - CIRD) can be caused by a multitude of bacteria and viruses, not all of which can be covered by vaccines. The main infectious agents are the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica and the viruses Parainfluenza and Adenovirus-2.

Clinical signs of disease include coughing, sneezing, ocular discharge, retching, depression and fever. Dogs with pre-existing respiratory disease can become quite unwell. Treatment consists of antibiotics for the bacterial component, but only time and supportive care can get rid of the viral component.

Prevention remains the key! There are a choice of vaccines available, and the ones we use at the Feilding clinic are:

Vanguard CC3: this is a vaccine administered intranasally – i.e. up the nostril. This provides excellent mucosal immunity. What this means, is that as soon as the bugs are inhaled, antibodies are secreted from the lining of the nose to attack them. This vaccine helps protect against Bordetella bronchiseptica, Parainfluenza and Adenovirus -2 and only needs to be boostered yearly.

Canigen KC: this is an injectable vaccine for the dogs that are head-shy, have very small nostrils or object to the intranasal vaccine. It still provides good immunity, but needs a booster vaccination 4 weeks after the first if the dog hasn’t had it before, then annually after that.

Hopefully, soon to arrive is the Vanguard CC B Oral vaccine – this is an alternative to the intranasal vaccine for those dogs that will no longer tolerate it. It protects only against Bordetella, however the parainfluenza and adenovirus-2 are also included in the standard ‘parvo’ vaccine (distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus, parainfluenza).  This may not be enough protection if the kennel cough challenge is high, so talk to your vet if you are unsure as to which vaccine will best suit your dog.

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