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Canine Cough at the Kennel

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It's that holiday time of the year again and you're absolutely THRILLED you've found space at a good kennel (at DKC, right?!), but now you also have to get Fluffy vaccinated for Canine Cough. Yep! It USED to be called Kennel Cough in days gone by, but it's now widely and correctly referred to as "Canine Cough" because, as you might guess, the vaccine protects against diseases that cause coughing in canines... not coughing in kennels! Got it?! If the disease and its vaccine were really about the places our dogs interact with each other, then we'd also have to call it "Daycare Cough" or "Dog Training Cough" or "Walk In The Park Cough" - all rather silly, right? So, Canine Cough it is.

But why do kennels require this vaccination? Why do schools ask for vaccination records for your children? Well, children at school are together in a community, just as your dogs are in the kennels, barking together and often socializing  as well. So the simple fact is that when lots of critters are close together, the spread of upper respiratory disease is far more likely (just as with colds in school children). Having a kennel or a school full of healthy, vaccine protected individuals is a GOOD thing, as it lessens the chance of sickness spreading.

The type of vaccination now widely recommended for Canine Cough is the live vaccine. This is sprayed up into your dog's nostril with just a quick, painless squirt (although probably a little annoying for your dog). It provides protection against disease caused by the bordetella bacteria and Para influenza virus. It does NOT claim to provide total protection against all possible causes of  Canine Cough (is there a cure for the common cold?) but it will certainly lessen the severity of it if contracted by your dog.

Keep in mind...

  1. Immunity begins as early as 72 hours after the vaccination but ideally, for maximum protection, the vaccination should be given at least three weeks before your dog goes to the kennels.
  2. It's a live vaccine, so vaccinated animals can shed the bacteria for up to three months post vaccination. This may cause mild symptoms in unvaccinated animals, so it's important the kennel is a good one with no unvaccinated animals on-site.
  3. Your dog should not be on antibiotics or immunosuppressive drugs for at least a week after vaccination. This will affect how your dog reacts to a live vaccine.
  4. Any immunosuppressed people (e.g. chemotherapy patients) may be at risk of developing bordetella from a recently vaccinated animal. So ask your vet if you are concerned.
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