My veterinarian recommended a kennel cough vaccine for my dog. Is this vaccine necessary or are they just trying to make more money?
Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory infection among dogs, and it is easily preventable.
Kennel cough has a very characteristic dry hacking cough, like the dog is “clearing its throat”. This is caused by a superficial painful irritation to the trachea, or “windpipe” and upper bronchii. These signs appear 3 to 7 days after exposure to an infected dog, and the signs may last up to 3 weeks.
Generally the cough is the only sign noted, there is rarely a fever, loss of appetite, or lethargy. Also rarely the disease can progress to a life threatening condition.
Treatment for the condition is fairly simple. Cough suppressants are used to slow the cough and ease the irritation. Occasionally antibiotics are used if the cough is severe or persists. The use of aerosolized medicine is also becoming a popular treatment. This mode of therapy is dependent on the temperament of the dog and sometimes the patience of the owner.
So back to the original question: “Does my dog need a kennel cough vaccine?” Kennel cough is generally caused by a bacteria, Bordatella bronchiseptica, or two viruses, parainfluenza and adenovirus. Dog become infected by being in close proximity to an infected animal. The most common sites of exposure are boarding kennels, groomers, veterinarian offices, dog shows, and field trials. It is very similar to becoming infected with the common cold, large number of people in a confined area and one sick individual. The core vaccines advised by your veterinarian will provide protection against the viral causes, but the bacterial component requires a different vaccine. This vaccine can be given through the nose or like the other vaccines, under the skin. This additional vaccine is advisable if your dog will be exposed to a large number of dogs, such as at the places mentioned earlier.
Vaccines are a vey important way to keep your pet healthy. They serve the same purpose as vaccines in children. Vaccines in pets should also be tailored to fit the individual pet. If your dog does not go to a boarding kennel, groomer, dog show, field trial, or for a stay at the veterinarian, then they do not need a kennel cough vaccine. If they do need to visit one of these places, try to vaccinate them at least 2 weeks prior to their stay for best immunity. Kennel cough can be a very frustrating problem for your dog, but it is easily preventable.