Canine Cough Explained

Canine Cough, or tracheobronchitis, is one of the most common respiratory diseases in dogs. It is an airborne virus, and whilst it is always around our communities, it tends to be seasonal with an outbreak occurring and running its course over a period of several weeks. It is very similar to the human cold or flu. All areas of Australia are susceptible to this virus, and sometimes a community outbreak occurs.

Does Vaccination Prevent your Dog Catching it?

No. Even if your dog is vaccinated, there is still some risk of infection. Vaccination provides an excellent defense against Canine Cough and will reduce the severity of symptoms, giving your pet the best chance of a fast recovery if they do become infected.

What are the symptoms?

One of the biggest challenges is that symptoms often don’t show until somewhere between 5-10 days after exposure, meaning that they are often not showing symptoms when contagious. The main symptoms to look for are:

  • A harsh, hacking cough which often finishes with gagging
  • Lethargy
  • Nasal discharge

Where can dogs catch Canine Cough?

Anywhere within the community where they are in proximity to other dogs. This includes dog parks, doggie social groups, vet surgeries, obedience classes, dog shows, doggie day care, taking them for a walk around your neighbourhood, pet shops, pet boarding facilities, and even in your own back yard if it is circulating in your neighborhood and infected dogs are passing by your residence. No amount of supervision, sanitization, or personalised care can prevent a dog from “catching” an airborne virus.

What should you do if your dog catches Canine Cough?

In many cases, pets will recover without treatment within 3-10 days. If you notice that your pet seems very unwell, or loses their appetite, it is important to seek veterinary treatment.

If your dog is diagnosed with Canine Cough, it is important that you keep them rested and at home whilst they recover. This will help reduce the spread within the community and ensure that the outbreak is as controlled as possible within our area. Keep them quiet, as stress or excitement can cause the symptoms to become worse.

What can you do to help reduce the spread?

  • Ensure your pet always has a current C5 vaccination
  • If your dog seems unwell, keep them home until you are sure they have recovered and avoid any socialisation with other dogs
  • If you need to book a vet appointment, be sure to let your vet know on the phone first what you suspect so that they can manage your arrival within their protocol
  • Once aware of a community outbreak in a particular region, it is recommended you take measures to avoid your pet socialising to minimize the chances of becoming infected

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