Instances of kennel cough on the rise in canines

COMSTOCK PARK, me. – Nikki Abbott worried when her dog Finnegan started behaving differently a few months after they had him as a puppy.

“When a puppy coughs your heart just stops and you feel so bad and you say,” Oh, I don’t want this ever to happen, “she said.” So I was super worried. “

Abbott and Finnegan weren’t the only pet, dog, and mom duo to see it this year. With the better weather and the lifting of restrictions, people are gathering at dog parks and vets say Bordetella, also known as kennel cough, is causing a surge.

“It is very similar to the common cold in humans,” said Dr. Lynn Happel, a veterinarian at Eastown Veterinary Clinic. “We see it a bit seasonal as people are more active and there is more interaction with dogs.”

In fact, Dr. Happel that they saw an increased number of cases this year – more than usual. Although multiple viruses and bacteria can cause kennel cough or the like, the good news is that doctors can vaccinate three of them.

“We can vaccinate against Bordetella, we can vaccinate against canine influenza, and we can vaccinate against canine parrot influenza,” said Dr. Happel.

Dr. Happel says pet owners should vaccinate their animals as soon as possible and look for any signs if they don’t.

“Decreased appetite, decreased activity level, lethargy, not eating,” she said in addition to the telltale heavy breathing. “Other than just wheezing, but actually, you know, an abdominal component for breathing.”

Dogs can develop kennel cough more than once, and only about 5-10% of cases become severe, but the vaccine and other treatments like cough suppressants are quite effective at treating cases.

“Most of these dogs have a mild cough that doesn’t affect their general well-being, and they’ll get over it on their own in about two weeks,” said Dr. Happel. “This is not a serious disease for most dogs.”

That was the case with Finnegan. Abbott made sure she called her vet immediately to get the dog a vaccine and recommended that Finnegan be kept away from other dogs for that two week period.

“Our vet just ended up vaccinating him,” she said, “and giving him nutritional supplements. We have things that we add to its water for its health. “

For more information on American Humane’s Kennel Cough, click here.

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