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Does Your Dog Need the Kennel Cough Vaccine?

Vaccinating your dog is a serious medical procedure with several significant potential risks. Many veterinarians, kennel owners and day care providers say your furry friend MUST be vaccinated against kennel cough, but exactly how likely is this vaccine to prevent kennel cough? Did you know Bordetella vaccine can even produce kennel cough-like symptoms? According to the WSAVA Guidelines, “Transient (3-10 days) coughing, sneezing or nasal discharge may occur in a small percentage of vaccinates.”

For the most part, if your veterinarian, kennel owner or day care provider practices good hygiene and has a well-ventilated space, kennel cough shouldn’t be a concern. Kennel cough is very comparable to a human cold – spread from an infected individual in close contact with another individual with compromised immunity. Like a human cold, kennel cough Is also considered a mild self-limiting disease.

If your boarding service provider is worried that your dog may contract kennel cough at their establishment, offer to sign a letter of consent acknowledging you’ve been informed of the risk. This will waive legal liability for the boarding provider which is likely their biggest concern. This is generally more of a liability issue than a significant health issue for your pet.

If your service provider is more concerned about the potential of other dogs at their establishment contracting kennel cough from your unvaccinated dog, then do they really believe the vaccinated dogs have immunity? If the Bordetella vaccine isn’t protective, why insist all dogs are vaccinated?

Dr. Ronald Schultz, world-renowned vaccination scientist, says, “Many animals receive ‘kennel cough’ vaccines that include Bordetella and CPI and/or CAV-2 every 6-9 months without evidence that this frequency of vaccination is necessary or beneficial. In contrast, other dogs are never vaccinated for kennel cough and disease is not seen.

CPI immunity lasts at least 3 years when given intranasally, and CAV-2 immunity lasts a minimum of 7 years parenterally for CAV-I. These two viruses in combination with Bordetella bronchiseptica are the agents most often associated with kennel cough. However, other factors also play an important role in disease (e.g. stress, dust, humidity, molds, myoplasma, etc.), thus kennel cough is not a vaccine preventable disease because of the complex factors associated with this disease. This is often a mild to moderate self-limiting disease. Some even refer to it as the ‘Canine Cold.’”

Ultimately, it is your decision whether you want to vaccinate your dog for kennel cough. If you do decide on the vaccine, we suggest you make sure it is the intranasal form that is given as nose drops, not the injected version. The vaccine should be administered at least a week before your dog has contact with other dogs – for the sake of both your dog and the others!

Want to learn more about The Barkery’s take on kennel cough vaccinations and more related issues? Give us a call or stop by the Barkery today to speak to one of our pet-loving experts!

 

Information for this story courtesy of Dogs Naturally Magazine.

Remedies for Kennel Cough

What is kennel cough, you ask?

If your dog seems to be coughing a lot or making choking sounds, he may have a case of canine infectioustracheobronchitis, more commonly known as kennel cough. Believe it or not, as awful as the choking, hacking noises sound, most episodes of kennel cough are not serious and resolve without treatment.

Dr. Becker from Mercola states that, “Kennel cough has a number of different causes, only one of which — the most common cause — is the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria. Many people think bordetella is kennel cough, but that is technically inaccurate. In fact, dogs that acquire the bordetella bacteria usually have a virus that makes them more vulnerable to infection. Some of these viruses are the canine adenovirus, distemper, canine herpes, and the parainfluenza virus. Kennel cough is a form of bronchitis and is similar to a chest cold in humans.”

Kennel cough is contagious, so whether your dog has the illness or you know of dogs that do, make sure to keep them apart until they are well.

How does a dog get kennel cough?

Your dog comes down with kennel cough when she inhales bacteria or virus particles. The lining of the respiratory tract can be debilitated through exposure to cold temperatures; dust, cigarette smoke or other particles in the air; stressful situations like travel; and time spent in crowded conditions like those found in many animal shelters and boarding kennels.

What are the symptoms?

The universal symptom of a bordetella infection is a persistent, hard, “honking” cough. Your pup may gag or cough up foamy looking white phlegm. Occasionally a dog will have other signs of illness like a running nose, sneezing or a discharge from his eyes.

Kennel cough rarely results in appetite loss or lethargy, so if your pup is showing those symptoms as well, there could be something else going on.

Six natural remedies

Often kennel cough resolves on its own, much like the human cold. Here are some other remedies you can try for relief:

  1. Esberitox. This is a fast-acting Echinacea that I have found very effective in reducing the virulence of bordetella infections.
  2. Vitamins C and E. Vitamin C is an antiviral and E provides immune system support.
  3. Oregano oil has antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties.
  4. Astragalus is an herb used in Chinese medicine to enhance the immune system, support lung function and stimulate the regeneration of bronchial cells.
  5. Raw garlic and olive leaf are natural antibacterial and antiviral agents.
  6. Raw honey will ease the discomfort of coughing, and certain herbs will soothe and naturally suppress a cough, among them licorice root and marshmallow.

As always, you should talk with your holistic veterinarian about natural remedies and the doses or applications most appropriate for your pet.