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Kennel Cough: The Little Beach Dog Protocol

Kennel cough is a blanket term used to describe an infectious, contagious illness in dogs. The obvious symptom is a horrible cough that can be very concerning for your furry family member. Kennel cough, also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, describes the location of the infection in the trachea or 'windpipe' and bronchial tubes. Unfortunately, kennel cough symptoms come from multiple viruses and are easily transmitted, so prevention is about as inevitable as the common cold for humans. That being said there are protective measures available to insure if your dog does become ill, it will bounce back quicker, and stop the spread. The Little Beach Dog has a defensive protocol in place to protect all of the dogs at daycare.

Before we highlight preventative measures let’s look at a few issues that make this illness tricky to navigate. Kennel cough is basically the term used to describe the symptoms brought on by multiple viral and bacterial infections. The most common is bordetella bronchiseptica. But there are multiple contagions that cause kennel cough, such as canine adenovirus type 2, canine parainfluenza virus, canine respiratory coronavirus, and mycoplasmas. Unfortunately, some pet owners think that once their dog is vaccinated for bordetella they are safe from kennel cough. But because kennel cough is a broad term used to describe multiple infections, the bordetella vaccine doesn’t insure your dog will not catch the illness in one form or another. Please refer to your veterinarian should you have any questions concerning the vaccine and your dog's risk factors.

Because the illness is spread through multiple contagions, this disease is hard to stop, but it gets trickier. All of the above-mentioned types of viruses and bacteria types of the illness are also highly transmissible. This means the spread of disease is easily transferred from dog to dog. Transmission happens through direct contact, airborne droplets, and contact with contaminated surfaces. The other inevitable factor in the transmission of the disease is that the virus can be shed three days before symptoms become present in your dog. This makes spreading any of the contagions mentioned very hard to stop. Because kennel cough is so easily transferred any dog that is social runs a greater risk of contracting the illness. Some high-risk places include veterinary facilities, clinics, boarding facilities, doggie daycare centers, training centers, dog parks, and dog shows. It’s also important to note, all dogs are at risk. It simply takes contact with any of the mentioned contaminants. So even a stay-at-home dog, out on a walk, runs a certain risk, albeit lower than a more social dog. No dog is exempt from kennel cough. Just like no human is exempt from the common cold.

On the bright side, the illness typically is not life-threatening. Your dog should recover fully. Even though the infection is stubborn and uncomfortable, typical symptoms fade within 3-6 weeks. Unfortunately, kennel cough can be very detrimental to young puppies or dogs with a lowered immune defense. This makes it even more essential to have a good dialog with your veterinarian. Any reputable dog facility knows the risk, and carry’s a strict protocol to ensure dog safety and to stop the spread of kennel cough.

The Little Beach Dog daycare is one of those reputable facilities. It is always a top priority to keep all dogs safe while at daycare. Here is our kennel cough protocol. As our clients know we take vaccination and boosters very seriously. All dogs must have the bordetella vaccine. The Bordetella vaccine is your dog's first line of defense. If it does not prevent your dog from getting sick, studies show it can lessen the severity of symptoms and the duration of the illness. All dogs are also required to have the 12-month booster. If the booster is the injectable shot your dog may return to daycare immediately. If your dog receives the nasal spray booster then they can not return to daycare for 10 days. The Little Beach Dog is a proud user of High Performance 256 disinfectants. This product is veterinarian recommended. High Performance 256 disinfectant not only defends against bordetella, but it also protects against staph, salmonella, E. coli, bronchiseptica, adenovirus, canine distemper, feline picornavirus, HIV-1, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, rabies, herpes, pseudorabies, respiratory syncytia, streptococcus, and canine parvovirus. Our staff is also hyper-vigilant in knowing your dog's personal behaviors, and should any dog seem ‘off’ they are immediately separated from the other dogs and monitored. Should any dog show signs of a definitive illness they are immediately quarantined and the owners are contacted for pickup. Once a daycare dog receives a diagnosis then it will not be allowed back to daycare until we have verification from a veterinarian.

Remember, kennel cough may be hard to prevent, but for most dogs, it’s no more irritating than the common cold for children. While any sickness can be scary we like our message to be similar to that of a child attending school. Vaccines are important but not a guarantee.

The risks are greater for socialized dogs but so are the rewards of social interaction. Talk to your veterinarian, get vaccinated, stay current on boosters, know what’s best for your dog, and trust that The Little Beach Dog has a protocol in place to ensure the safety of all the dogs that attend daycare.


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