Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis (Canine Cough)
Canine Cough is one of the most common infectious diseases in dogs. Fortunately, the majority of cases are not serious, resolving on their own in 1 to 2 weeks. A dog with Canine Cough will develop a coarse, dry, hacking cough about 5 to 10 days after being infected. It sounds as if the dog needs to “clear its throat” and the cough will be triggered by any extra activity, drinking water, exposure to change of temperature, or exercise. Their general state of health and alertness are usually not affected, they usually have no rise in temperature, and do not lose their appetite.
Canine Influenza Virus
Canine Influenza is similar to influenza in humans. The infection causes upper respiratory symptoms (coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, mild fever, mild lethargy). In some cases, the illness can become more severe with pneumonia, high fever, and severe lethargy. Rarely, dogs can die from this infection. There are two main strains of CIV. This is a very contagious virus that is airborne and can also be spread by direct contact. Vaccinating is the only way to slow the spread and avoid severe illness.
Canine Cough or Canine Flu?
It’s extremely difficult to tell the difference and only a lab test can tell for sure. The signs of illness in dogs for both canine cough and canine flu are cough, runny nose, fever, lethargy, eye discharge, and reduced appetite, but not all dogs will show signs of illness. The severity of illness associated with canine cough and canine flu in dogs can range from no signs at all (asymptomatic infection) to severe illness from secondary infections that can result in pneumonia and sometimes but rarely death.
*It is important to note that we do require all of our guests to have up-to-date Bordatella and Canine Flu vaccinations, however, these vaccinations do not protect against all strains of Canine Cough and Canine Influenza. This means that a vaccinated dog can still contract the virus, but usually with less severe symptoms.
How It’s Spread
Canine Cough and Canine Influenza are easily spread through direct contact, surfaces, and air. Dogs can contract Canine Cough or Canine Influenza anywhere an infected dog has been, this includes the vet’s office, the pet store, the dog park, etc. Even in the most hygienic, well-ventilated, spacious dog facilities, the possibility of a dog acquiring Canine Cough or Canine Influenza still exists.
Because a dog with Canine Cough or Canine Influenza may not show symptoms for several days or up to a week after exposure, if an infected dog is in our care, it will likely leave the facility before ever showing signs of the infection.
How It’s Treated
It is always a good idea to have a dog examined if persistent coughing is noticed. Treatment is generally limited to symptomatic relief of the coughing with non-prescription, and occasionally prescription, cough suppressants. If the dog is running a fever or there seems to be a persistent and severe cough, antibiotics are utilized to assist the dog in recovering and prevent any secondary infections.
All staff members are familiar with the symptoms of Canine Cough and Canine Influenza and have been trained on how to prevent the spread as best as possible should a dog in our facility show symptoms. We do several health checks on our boarding guests throughout the day and we are constantly sanitizing the facility. We require all of our guests to show proof of current vaccinations including Bordatella, DHPP, Rabies, & Canine Influenza.