Kennel Cough

posted: by: AAC Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Etiology:  Bordetella bronchiseptica, a bacterial organism

 

Risk Factors:  Exposure to clinically ill animal in boarding and/or grooming facilities, shelters, pet shops, dog shows, public areas, catteries, multicat households, or strays.  Pets not vaccinated for Bordetella.

 

Transmission:  Through the air (aerosol)

 

Clinical Signs: 

  1. DOGS:  Dry, hacking/honking coughing fits. (Sounds like a bone caught in the throat).  Episodes may appear worse with excitement or exercise.  Other less common signs include nasal discharge, gagging, retching, anorexia, depression, and fever.  Condition is usually self-limiting and last 7-10 days.
  2. CATS:  Sneezing, serous ocular and/or nasal discharge, coughing, dry or wet rales, fever, lethargy, enlarged mandibular lymph nodes. May see conjunctivitis, bronchopneumonia, and death in severe cases.

 

Incubation Time:  36 hours to 10 days depending on the strain

 

Duration of Clinical Signs:  1 to 2 days up to several weeks

 

Carrier State:  Possible

 

Diagnosis:  Ideally, run CBC, Chem, UA, Heartworm Test, and Thoracic Rads to screen for other disorders.  Definitive diagnosis requires a positive culture obtained from nasal swabs, mouth or pharyngeal swabs, or tracheal washes.  A presumptive diagnosis may be made based on history, clinical signs, physical exam, and response to treatment.

 

Treatment: 

  1. Restrict exercise & avoid excitement in dogs to decrease coughing
  2. Separate from other animals in household as transmission is highly likely
  3. Antibiotics, Antitussives, Bronchodilators, and Anti-inflammatories as indicated by clinical signs
  4. Some patients may benefit from humidification of fluid therapy to help thin and loosen airway secretions

 

Prevention:

  1. Routine disinfection of kennels, walls, floors, and bowls
  2. Washing hands after handling pet or bedding
  3. Isolate pet from well pets and minimize contact
  4. Vaccinate 2 weeks before potential exposure
  5. Vaccinate annually (duration of vaccine is 9 - 12 months)
  6. Vaccinate every 6 months if pet has high incidence of potential exposure (i.e. dog show, boarding, grooming, etc.)

 

 

 

 

Source: Compedium, Bordetella Infections In Dogs and Cats: Pathogenesis, Clinical Signs, and Diagnosis; Treatment and Prevention, Vol. 25, No. 12, December 2003, pp. 896-898, 902-912.