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.