Kennel cough infection on the rise among Winnipeg dogs

Kennel cough, a respiratory infection in dogs that is easily spread, has become more common lately, according to a Winnipeg veterinarian.

Dr. Jonas Watson told CTV Morning Live that he and his colleagues at the Grant Park Animal Hospital are now seeing about six cases of kennel cough a day over the last three weeks. He says the infection tends to show up in more dogs every few years.

“It tends not to be extremely serious in most cases. It causes a dry, hacking cough in dogs and it can be problematic for dogs, and problematic for owners,” Watson said.

Watson said kennel cough is often caused by a variety of viruses and bacteria. He said veterinarians vaccinate for some of these, but not for all of them and that’s one reason why kennel cough shows up sometimes in vaccinated animals. As well, dogs may cough for other potentially more serious reasons beyond the kennel cough infection.

“Typically, a dog with kennel cough doesn’t feel much differently, they are just sort of coughing. But it is worth calling the vet to see whether there is some other reason why the dog is coughing. Probably prudent to have a veterinarian examine the dog and confirm a diagnosis,” said Watson.

Watson said on rare occasions, kennel cough can progress from an upper-respiratory infection to pneumonia.

“Those would obviously be more serious cases and those dogs may potentially need to be hospitalized. Most of the time it is considered to be a self-limiting disease that goes away in seven to 14 days,” He said.

REDUCING TRANSMISSION

Watson says given the recent increase in the incidence of kennel cough, it makes sense for owners to limit their pet’s exposure to other dogs.

“It would probably be wise not to be socializing your dogs in areas where dogs tend to congregate. So for the next four weeks or so, I might steer clear of busy dog parks, I may inquire of a dog daycare as to whether there have been any outbreaks there. I might delay that grooming appointment.”