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Kennel is a highly contagious upper respiratory infection that can be caused by inhalation of a bacterial or viral particles into the respiratory tract.  The disease is usually transmitted between dogs in close contact by aerosolized respiratory secretion, often during coughing or sneezing. It can even transmit to your dog by exposure to surgaces that have been tainted by a sick dog. There is typically a harsh honking type of cough, but sometimes the coughing can seem more like gagging or vomiting slime/frothy material. Some dogs develop a fever and anorexia for a few days.

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Kennel cough is very common among young dogs and puppies, but older dogs get it too. In many cases, it will clear up on its own in 3-4 days. Many dogs with kennel cough will not act sick and are active, eating and drinking, but coughing as well.  Therefore is the dog is coughing and acting ill, have a fever etc- you should take your dog to the veterinarian.

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To prevent your dog getting Kennel cough there is a vaccine. Many kennels wont keep your dog unless you have proof of the vaccine, but you need to plan ahead, because it can take up to 2 weeks for the vaccine to kick in. therefore ideally you should vaccinate your dog 2 weeks before planning to place them in a kennel.  The vaccine is inhaled through he nose. Side effects of the vaccine include: vomiting, hives, lethargy, breathing difficulties. If accidentally injected instead of inhaled the animal can be sore at the injection site and potentially feel lethargic and develop an abscess at the site.

The kennel cough vaccine is still not 100% effective. There is still a change that your dog develops kennel cough, but the vaccine will reduce the severity and the length of the illness. The vaccine will not be of any help to your dog if its already got Kennel cough. Normally if they get kennel cough, the veterinarian will treat with an antibiotic against the opportunistic bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica etc. the antibiotics will however to affect the viral components of the condition but they should prevent the dog developing secondary pneumonia from the opportunistic bacteria. First choice antibiotic is doxycycline, but other alternatives include oxytetracycline, potentiated sulphonamides or amoxicillin/clavulanic acid. A 7-10 day course should be sufficient, but some cases will require a longer course.

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If you don’t feel comfortable vaccinate your dog with this vaccine, Kennel cough is a self limiting illness, meaning it can go away on its own. However if your dog is coughing, not himself, fever etc- please bring your pet to your veterinarian.

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