Q1 – My friend’s dog has just been diagnosed with Kennel Cough and we go out walking regularly together. Can my dog catch it and if so what are the symptoms and what should I do?
Kennel cough is a term used by vets to describe any infectious cough. It can be caused by a number of different bugs, some of which are viral and others of which are bacterial. It is therefore a contagious illness that your dog could catch, and it is important to mention that the illness is not only spread by direct contact – e.g. your friends dog meeting your dog face to face, but it can also be spread by your dog being in contact from bugs being left behind in droplets from an infected dog’s nose or mouth. It can be useful to think of it in similar terms to a human cold, or a bout of ‘flu. For most dog’s it causes an unpleasant illness, with a harsh, hacking cough that can be quite distressing. Other symptoms may include sneezing (with or without a runny nose) a sore throat, a fever and generally feeling unwell. However with appropriate treatment, rest and plenty of tender loving care the majority of effected dogs will make an uneventful recovery. In young, old, or sick dogs the illness can be much more serious. Because of the variety of bugs that can cause kennel cough it is always worth talking to your vet if you suspect your dog may be showing signs. They will be able to advise you as to what treatments will help to ease the symptoms, whether antibiotics are appropriate and for how long your dog should be isolated from other dogs. There are some causes of kennel cough for which vaccines are available and your vet will also be able to advise you as to whether these are appropriate for your dog.