Kennel cough is on the rise in parts of B.C.

— Veterinarians in British Columbia say they’ve seen a “significant rise” in an infection known as kennel cough among dogs living in the Lower Mainland.

The Society of B.C. Veterinarians told CTV News Wednesday the increase in infectious trachetitis has been noted in the last month.  “While fortunately many of these cases have not been deadly, there have certainly been a number of cases that have progressed to pneumonia,” the society said.

Dogs with kennel cough often have a cough, as the name suggests. Owners may also notice their pets choking or throwing up, either from coughing violently or to expel sputum in their airways after coughing.

“The cough doesn’t have to be associated with anything specific (such as eating or exercise) and can occur during any time of day. The cough usually has quite a distinct dry, hacking sound and is usually non-productive (apart from sputum) unless it has progressed to pneumonia,” the SBCV said.

What Is Kennel Cough?

Kennel Cough (also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis) is a highly contagious respiratory disease. 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.

Can Kennel Cough Be Prevented?

A vaccine is available for the bordetella bacterium, which is the most common agent to cause kennel cough. Dogs who are frequently boarded, visit doggie day care, compete in canine sports, or otherwise are exposed to large groups of dogs may benefit from the vaccine, and many training, boarding, and daycare facilities require proof of vaccination. The vaccine is available in oral, intranasal, and injectable forms, and depending on the form, it is usually initially given in two doses two to four weeks apart, followed by a booster every six months to a year.

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