Veterinarians seeing outbreak of Kennel Cough in Toronto

A common misconception is that the vaccine makes dogs immune

There's something to think about if you're planning on taking your furry friend to the dog park this weekend.

Veterinarians around the GTA are seeing an increased number of kennel cough cases.

"One of the reasons could be that we just had a bit of a cold snap. Dogs can experience stress just like us and drastic changes in the weather can make the immune system have a more challenging time addressing an infection," explains Dr. Clayton Greenway, host of the Animal House on NEWSTALK 1010.

It's a common misconception to believe a dog is immune if they've received the kennel cough vaccine. The vaccine only reduces your dog's chances of getting it. 

"It gives them the antibodies to fight it and bolsters the immune system to try and prevent it," he says.

Kennel Cough is highly contagious and your dog can pick it up anywhere - the park, the groomer, doggy daycare. 

A dog will develop a dry, hacking cough that sounds like they've got something stuck in their throat. Sometimes they will also get a fever.

It can be treated with antibiotics and symptoms may last a few weeks. "One of the reasons why people think it lasts longer is because even when the infection is gone there's still irritation in the airway so the coughing could continue past the infection," Greenway describes.

Keep an eye on your pooch, though. If they stop eating or drinking and become lethargic it could be a sign that something more serious has developed.