Canine Cough is a term loosely used to describe a complex of infections – both viral and bacterial – that cause inflammation of a dog’s voice box and windpipe. It’s a form of bronchitis and is similar to a chest cold in humans. Though it usually clears up on its own, Canine Cough is highly contagious to other dogs. Bordetella is just one form of Canine Cough. Vaccinated dogs can still become ill. Generally those most at risk for Canine Cough are young dogs, or dogs with compromised immune systems. In rare cases Canine Cough can turn into pneumonia or other serious illness.
It is transmitted the same way a human cold is transmitted – It is airborne, and nose to nose contact with infected dogs can transmit the virus. While surfaces are sanitized daily, we cannot prevent all airborne particles from blowing around. We do have fresh airflow through the building, which is our best defense from Canine Cough.
Symptoms Include: A persistent dry cough with a “honking” sound is the main clue your dog has caught canine cough. In most cases, your dog will appear healthy except for the cough. Your dog’s appetite and activity level usually won’t change, but don’t be alarmed if your dog gags and coughs up a white, foamy phlegm – these signs are often worse after exercise, or if your dog is excited or pulls against their collar while being walked on leash. Some dogs may also develop a fever and nasal discharge.
If your dog is showing any symptoms, please do not bring them to daycare or boarding! Dogs exhibiting signs of Canine Cough should be isolated to prevent further spread of the virus. Any dogs coughing at daycare will be separated immediately and you will be called to pick them up ASAP. They are welcome to return to Pet Play House after at least 1 week from their last cough, or after a vet has cleared them from being contagious.
You can always take your dog to your vet if your dog is exhibiting signs of Canine Cough. Cough suppressants and antimicrobials might be prescribed to speed healing. In most cases, Canine Cough clears on its own without veterinary care, similar to the human flu or cold.
Canine cough typically diminishes in 1-2 weeks. If you do not see signs of improvement within 1 week, contact your veterinarian. In rare, serious cases, Canine Cough can lead to pneumonia.