Not just ‘Kennel’ Cough

by Handy Mag
Published: Last Updated on

by Clare Brash, B Vet Med, MRCVS, Station House Vets

Names of products change over the years, ‘Opal Fruits’ are now called ‘Starbursts’ and ‘Jif’ cleaner is ‘Cif’, presumably for a good, if unfathomable, reason. ‘Kennel cough’, a whooping cough like disease in dogs, has joined the club and is now known as ‘Contagious Canine Cough’ (C.C.C). For me, as a practising vet, this is a huge improvement as I can sometimes sound like a cracked record in the consulting room when I say: “Would you like me to add kennel cough vaccine to your annual booster?”, the answer is frequently: “No thanks, ‘Pepsi Max’ would never go into kennels!”. I go on to explain that the cough is not just spread in kennels but is a highly contagious condition that Pepsi could catch by meeting any dog with it, even out on a walk. The bugs which cause it have even been proven to survive for up to 3 months in pond water.

Dogs with Contagious Canine Cough can be so badly affected that owners suspect that their pet is ‘choking on a stick’ as they can be gagging and coughing so severely; however, the signs can vary and in some it simply causes a fever with a persistent cough. These less severely affected pets can still spread the condition to many others for about 3 weeks, hence the importance of vaccination.

The old vaccine available back in the mists of time was, admittedly, very poor, giving partial protection for just six weeks which is why they were given to pets that were going into kennels. Luckily the boffins have developed a much better one which last a year and is given as an add on to the annual booster vaccine. The game changer for us as vets is that they’ve also developed a brand-new type of the vaccine which can be injected normally rather than squirted up the nose. Grappling with a snappy writhing reluctant collie to administer the nasal dose is a thing of the past, an experience which used to leave us exhausted and reaching for a ‘Marathon’ or as it’s now called, a ‘Snickers’.

The vaccination for Contagious Canine Cough is part of our Wellness Plan—our monthly payment plan for all your preventative health care. You can find out more on our website at To make an appointment for a Contagious Canine Cough vaccination for your puppy or dog, give the team a call on 01653 618303.

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