When it's not possible to take your four-legged friend with you, it's important to look for a safe, reputable location to board them for the duration of your journey. The key is finidng a kennel which is clean and secure. Trips are much more enjoyable when the health of a pet is certain, so taking the time to prevent kennel cough is very important.
What is kennel cough?
Kennel cough is a kind of upper respiratory infection that affects dogs. It's caused by a common type of bacteria, and is highly contagious – the name comes from the ease with which the disorder is spread among animals kept in close quarters. A dog afflicted with kennel cough will sneeze, vomit, and perhaps even have a fever. It can last two to three weeks at a time, and resurface relatively easily; although kennel cough isn't usually life threatening, very old dogs and young pups are more at risk of complications than animals in the prime of their life.
Can it be vaccinated against?
A vaccination does exist for kennel cough, but keep this in mind: much like a common cold for humans, there are multiple strains of kennel cough. So many, in fact, that it's impossible to vaccinate against them. So while a pup can be vaccinated, it might work only for one type of kennel cough, but not all.
What can be done to protect against it?
The best way to protect an animal against kennel cough is to find a reputable, clean location to board them at. There are a few key features to look at when it comes to kennels:
- They're clean. A kennel which doesn't clean up after animals is one in which bacteria and disease can easily spread.
- They have a veterinarian on call. In the event of a medical emergency, the kennel should be able to reach a vet who can treat your animal and keep them safe.
- The kennel should have certain standards. Kennels which allow any sort of animal to board there are more at risk for the spread of disease; if they require that animals have certain vaccinations before boarding, it lessens the chance that another animal might pick up on the bacteria.
- They monitor the animals. A kennel which prevents animals from interacting with one another when there are clear signs of aggression or disease is one that can be trusted. Kennel cough is spread not only through dirty floors, but also through air and saliva, much like a human cold might be.
If an animal begins to show signs of kennel cough, think twice before boarding them with others. Not only is it irresponsible, but it encourages the spread of disease. A dog who suffers from kennel cough will have a weakened immune system and be more susceptible to problems than one who is healthy and hale.
Another thing to keep in mind is the potential for canine distemper. This disease is equally as contagious, but unlike kennel cough, is highly dangerous. Animals that survive canine distemper will suffer from lasting damage, including quick erosion of the teeth and poor eyesight. The initial symptoms of canine distemper are similar to those of kennel cough, so if an animal shows symptoms, it is a good idea to have them examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Are there cost-effective alternatives?
A type of medicine known as a nosode, which is made from the disease itself, can be very effective at treating kennel cough and even preventing it. This type of medication can be obtained affordably from numerous animal care stores and vet clinics. Speak with a local veterinarian for more information.
When it comes to kennel cough, it's better to be safe than sorry. Although the disorder is not life threatening, it can cause a lot of discomfort for an animal, and no one wants to see a beloved pet go through that. Take the time and properly research any kennel before boarding an animal there, and make sure the pooch is in good health before entrusting it to the care of others.
Aly Sweet recently went to board her dog and wants to make sure everyone is making the right decision when boarding their pet.