Kennel cough vaccine for dogs

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By Tess Thompson

Kennel cough, an extremely contagious infection among dogs is very similar to common cold and cannot be treated. The only real treatment for the disease is to see it through for the 15 to 20 days that it may last. The only thing that you can do if the disease has already hit, is to take good care of your dog, keep him in a humid, warm environment and reduce the level of exercise that he may be used to.

Knowing the symptoms and treatments of kennel cough can go a long way in identifying the problem well in time so that proper care can be taken. The ideal way to tackle kennel however, is to prevent it from ever happening. There are various vaccines that can be given to dogs as young as a few weeks to avoid the problem completely.

As the name suggests, kennel cough is likely to strike when many dogs are in close proximity like say in a kennel, dog shows or a place where many dogs are boarded. Even though most reputed kennels ensure that the inmate does not have this disease among others, there are cases where other dogs can be carriers of the disease without showing any sign of the condition themselves. And therefore most people will suggest that if your dog is primarily a house dog and is not exposed to other dogs in such conditions; it may be ‘quite okay’ to not get a vaccine for kennel cough.

This however, is not true given the fact that the virus or bacteria that spreads the disease is air borne and can be transferred even if the infected dog is a few feet away. Sneezing or coughing by the dog can cause this transfer. And so, even house dogs do run the risk of contracting the disease.

There are mainly two types of vaccines for kennel cough. One type can be injected and the other is intranasal. The injection takes a few days to take effect and therefore if you are likely to be in close proximity of other dogs in an emergency situation, then it is better to choose the intranasal spray. A puppy can be vaccinated as soon as he is 4 weeks of age and a booster dose needs to be given bi-annually or annually.

Even with all these precautions, you can still not be sure that your dog will not get kennel cough since the vaccine is only about 60% effective. And therefore at times an effective canine respiratory infection cure needs to be sought.

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