Honk Honk

The Tribune (NZ) - - Motoring -

No­ravirus is now a well known name and can cause a lot of prob­lems in hos­pi­tals and schools. For our four-legged ca­nine friends, Parvo-virus that also causes vom­it­ing and di­ar­rhea can be a dev­as­tat­ing and fa­tal prob­lem in the warmer months. But another nasty bug has been keep­ing us busy this week.

I could hear Malt be­fore he even came through the front door of the hos­pi­tal. He sounded more like some sort of goose than a big cho­co­late lab. I felt so sorry for him be­cause the more ex­cited he be­came, the more he honked. Roseanne was very wor­ried and hadn’t had much sleep the night be­fore. Her main con­cern was whether Malt had a bone lodged in his throat which be­ing a labra­hoover could be very likely. But the clues to Malt’s prob­lem was that he was still eat­ing well (takes a lot to stop a lab eat­ing!), was very ac­tive and he had been stay­ing at a friends house with three other dogs, one of which had re­cently been at a dog show. While dodg­ing the tongue and the solid tail slap­ping me, I man­aged to get Malt to cough by mas­sag­ing his wind­pipe and did the Dr Doolit­tle thing which showed a nor­mal tem­per­a­ture. Malt al­most cer­tainly had a case of ken­nel cough. And we are see­ing al­most one a day at the mo­ment. Ken­nel cough can be caused by sev­eral bugs but two in par­tic­u­lar. The clas­sic sign of ken­nel cough is a harsh, dry cough that of­ten fin­ishes with al­most gag­ging and phlegm be­ing pro­duced. The cough is usu­ally made worse by ex­er­cise, ex­cite­ment or pal­pa­tion of the throat. • It tends to be sea­sonal and more com­mon dur­ing

the warmer months when aerosol (cough­ing) trans­mis­sion be­tween dogs is eas­ier and also dur­ing or af­ter the hol­i­day sea­son when they have all been to­gether in a board­ing ken­nel which is a per­fect en­vi­ron­ment for an out­break to oc­cur. Hence the term ken­nel cough!

• Preven­tion is via vac­ci­na­tion and should def­i­nitely be con­sid­ered as a yearly rou­tine and should be a com­pul­sory re­quire­ment be­fore ad­mis­sion to board­ing ken­nels or dog shows.

• Treat­ment is straight for­ward with a course of a par­tic­u­lar an­tibi­otic. Cough sup­pres­sants may also be re­quired.

• If left un­treated and in un­vac­ci­nated dogs the cough can go on for weeks and is def­i­nitely highly con­ta­gious to other dogs.

• Mild symp­toms can oc­ca­sion­ally still oc­cur in vac­ci­nated in­di­vid­u­als if ex­posed to a high enough chal­lenge but they will only get a mild form of the dis­ease Poor Malt was ob­vi­ously fed up with his cough and so was Pe­tra. So we gave him a much needed in­jec­tion to give him some im­me­di­ate re­lief and got him started on some an­tibi­otic tablets. Within two days his cough has started to set­tle down, but by then the other dogs he had been stay­ing with were un­for­tu­nately also cough­ing so they re­ceived a course of tablets as well. We are see­ing so much of this dis­ease at the mo­ment that I would rec­om­mend that you get your friend vac­ci­nated if they haven’t al­ready been done for this. If you are un­sure then give us a call for ad­vice. Those that go to dog shows, dogs day out, obe­di­ence groups or board­ing ken­nels should def­i­nitely be vac­ci­nated.

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