November 26, 2015

Infectious tracheobronchitis (‘kennel cough’)

Infectious tracheobronchitis (also known as kennel cough) is a social disease that can be spread anywhere that dogs meet: in parks, at training not just in kennels! It is more common in the summer months when people are out more with their dogs and going on holiday.

It is important that you are aware of the disease and how you can prevent its spread. Fortunately there is an easy solution to this problem – a simple vaccination. This is a classic case of prevention being better than cure!

The disease:

Many infectious agents can cause infectious tracheobronchitis. The most severe and contagious of these is Bordetella bronchiseptica. This bacterium is inhaled and settles on the surface of the dog’s upper airway. The specialised lining of these airways becomes paralysed and so cannot function correctly. As a result large amounts of mucus and debris build up in the bronchi and cause the dog to cough violently and for long periods of time.

This is a distressing disease for both you and your dog and can be a source of worry for kennel owners who you may be considering boarding with. The only effective way to prevent the spread of Bordetella is to vaccinate and many kennel owners insist on seeing proof of vaccination.