Kennel cough or Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease, is a hot topic of discussion, the bane of boarding facility owner's lives and certainly the cause of many a sleepless night for me since setting up Happy Dogs Aigle. It is a nasty, highly contagious illness most similar to a cold and/or bronchitis in humans but it is important to know that most dogs recover within 2 weeks without serious side effects.
According to the AKC: "dogs commonly contract kennel cough at places where large amounts of canines congregate, such as boarding and daycare facilities, dog parks, training groups, and dog shows. Dogs can spread it to one another through airborne droplets, direct contact (e.g., touching noses), or contaminated surfaces (including water/food bowls). It’s highly treatable in most dogs but can be more severe in puppies younger than six months of age and immunocompromised dogs."
The particular challenge with kennel cough is that there are dozens of bacterial and viral agents which cause the infection. And according to WSAVA, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, kennel cough is NOT an illness that lends itself to prevention by vaccination. In fact, the vaccination only covers a few of the agents that cause kennel cough so it's efficacy is limited, which probably explains why it is not part of the routine vaccinations issued by vets. And, very importantly, dogs can easily catch kennel cough from recently vaccinated dogs, something we have experienced first hand at our boarding facility which has led us to recently amend our vaccination guidelines.
Our approach to kennel cough and to the kennel cough vaccine here at Happy Dogs Aigle is to try and maintain a balance between science, holistic health and the protection of the large numbers of dogs we look after. We do NOT mandate the vaccine, preferring to have a more individualistic approach to the matter. Here is our guidance taken from the vaccination section of our website:
As you can see, not a black and white response because Kennel Cough is not a black and white issue unfortunately. For further reading on the symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment of Kennel Cough, here are two highly informative sources which I trust. The first here is from friend and colleague Dr. Conor Brady at Dogs First and the second is from the always informative Dogs Naturally website here.
Finally, please take note of the extended waiting time between administration of the Kennel Cough vaccination and coming to Happy Dogs Aigle. Previously the guidance was 7-10 days between vaccination and boarding/daycare to avoid exposing dogs here to the live vaccine. This has been extended to one month in an effort to further minimise the risk of exposure & possible infection for other dogs. Please be sure to contact me with any comments or questions!
Aileen Woulfe, Irish expat, lifelong animal lover, Swiss qualified with a diplôme cynologique in breeding, grooming and kennel management and owner of Happy Dogs Aigle boarding and daycare in Vaud, Switzerland.