Feathers & fur Treat­ing ca­nine cough and cat flu

We all know how mis­er­able colds, flu and other viruses make us feel, and it’s no dif­fer­ent for our pets, as DR PETER KIRKPATRICK ex­plains

Gardening Australia - - CONTENTS -

While dogs and cats don’t ex­pe­ri­ence quite the same flu as we do, they can suf­fer from de­bil­i­tat­ing symp­toms of cough­ing, wheez­ing and lethargy, just like us. Here’s how to recog­nise when your pet is feel­ing poorly and what you can do about it.

ca­nine cough

Dogs can catch this highly con­ta­gious con­di­tion at any time of year. It used to be called ken­nel cough, be­cause dogs of­ten came down with it af­ter be­ing in a ken­nel en­vi­ron­ment, but it doesn’t just oc­cur af­ter they have been on hol­i­day. Re­search shows that most dogs will con­tract ca­nine cough at some point in their lives.

The main strains are bor­de­tella and parain­fluenza, and th­ese cause a dry hack­ing cough that sounds like the dog is try­ing to bring up some­thing caught in his throat. Thank­fully, th­ese two com­po­nents are in­cluded in most vac­ci­na­tions. While your dog may still con­tract ca­nine cough, his symp­toms will be far less se­vere.

Own­ers who con­sult us of­ten de­scribe some or all of th­ese symp­toms in dogs pre­sent­ing with ca­nine cough: Retch­ing, as though try­ing to bring some­thing up Cough­ing


Nasal dis­charge

Pup­pies, se­nior dogs and those with ex­ist­ing health prob­lems are more pre­dis­posed to con­tract­ing ca­nine cough. And dogs with com­pro­mised res­pi­ra­tory sys­tems, such as pugs and bull­dogs, will be worse off if they do be­come in­fected.

Sur­pris­ingly, most in­fected dogs still eat, drink and play nor­mally. The cough usu­ally goes away of its own ac­cord, but if you’re con­cerned that it’s not clear­ing up, take your dog to a vet, who may pre­scribe some med­i­ca­tion to re­lieve the symp­toms.

cat u

This is a par­tic­u­larly nasty dis­ease that can have a dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect on our furry friends. A num­ber of dif­fer­ent viruses are re­spon­si­ble for cat flu, but the most com­mon are cali­civirus and her­pesvirus, both of which can re­sult in se­vere res­pi­ra­tory prob­lems.

Symp­toms de­pend on which virus has caused the in­fec­tion, but com­mon signs in cats are:

Sneez­ing and nasal dis­charge

Dis­charge from the eyes


Loss of ap­petite

Ul­cer­a­tion, es­pe­cially in the mouth

Sali­va­tion or drool­ing

Gin­givi­tis (in­flam­ma­tion of the gums)

did you know?

The most com­mon place for dogs to pick up ca­nine cough is the park. Af­ter con­tract­ing the dis­ease, it takes three or four days for any of the symp­toms to show.

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