The fancy name for kennel cough is Infectious Canine Tracheobronchitis… WHHAAATT?
Infectious: It’s contagious. Tracheo: the trachea or throat. Bronch: the two large branches leading from the throat to the lungs. -itis: inflammation. That means an upper respiratory infection.
It’s usually a combination of the bacteria bordetella and some viral infection, for example, influenza. In order to understand the magnitude of the problem, I want you to think: common cold.
Incubation period is anywhere from 3-10 days after which the dog will start a honking cough usually more pronounced after activity. The cough usually ends with an attempt to bring something up which is why most folks think the dog has something caught in his throat.
It can last for 1 to 3 weeks.
Sometimes there is a runny nose and sneezing as well. The dog can be contagious for 1-3 months after the cough is gone.
There usually isn't a fever unless the infection progresses beyond common kennel cough.
Oh, yes, just like in humans there are some canines that may progress to pneumonia and death but generally speaking, it is pretty harmless. A few days or a week or two of misery and the dog ends up just fine.
I am sooooo sick of people using the fear card to make things to seem more important, more dangerous, and more lethal than they really are.
Day 1: Exposure to infected dog
Day 3-10: Begins to cough, sneeze, have a runny nose
Day 10 - 24: symptoms resolve
And as one who jumps from “they are just fine” to “they are going to die” in one small leap, if I am willing to say that about my pups, it’s a pretty sure thing.
If you have a healthy dog a few simple things (or nothing at all) can help him on the way to recovery.
If you have an immune-compromised, elderly, infirmed dog, more precautions need to be taken. Common sense.
We have come to a point where we think that our children and our animals should never ever get sick. YOU ARE LIVING ON THE WRONG PLANET IF YOU THINK YOU CAN AVOID ALL ILLNESS.
I’m sure if a vaccine for the common cold came out; there would be lines around to block to get it. Not that it would be very effective but we have become so afraid of everything. UGH!
I know God is going to punish me for writing this page by giving me the worst case of the flu I’ve had in years. But I bet I’ll still get over it.
What would you do if you or a loved one had a cold? Make sure they still are hydrated. Make them comfortable with some cough suppressant Ohhh, and chicken soup, YAY!
If your Shetland Sheepdog isn't drinking or eating much, you can offer some Pedialyte which you can pick up in most supermarkets or pharmacies. use make sure there is no XYLITOL in it as a sweetener because that is dangerous for dogs.
I like to use honey and licorice mix. Dr Becker (above) recommends Slippery Elm to soothe a sore throat.
These ingredients are safe for dogs except for the raw honey. Do not give raw honey to very young pups (less than a year old) because of the possible presence of botulism spore.
Both the raw honey and licorice extract are antimicrobial, antiviral. The licorice is a good expectorant and breaks up any mucus in the lungs. Honey can help soothe a sore throat.
You can use the licorice up to five days.
You could also add ½ tsp of lemon to help cut any thick mucus if you wanted.
Both honey and licorice are sweet so I imagine your dog will be able to take it from a spoon or bowl rather than a syringe.
You can mix a little extra and keep it in the refrigerator for a few days.
IF, and that is a big IF, your Shetland Sheepdog doesn’t get over it in a week or two then maybe its time for the vet.
On a more serious side, how do you know it isn’t canine distemper instead of kennel cough?
One way to one from the other is that there is usually no fever with kennel cough. There usually isn't any diarrhea either. If you have some concerns, your vet can do some testing to rule out distemper.
Go to the groomer’s. Go to the boarding kennel. It usually requires a bordetella vaccination. Know why? It’s called CYA. Yup, that’s it. CYA. Just in case a dog comes in with a case of kennel cough, the facilities want to make sure you can’t sue them.
Ain’t it a grand world we live in?
BTW, I take Shelties for boarding at my home and do not require the bordetella vaccine.
It’s similar to hospitals now requiring their employees all get flu vaccinations before they are allowed to work. As if it protects their patients from influenza. OK, well, I won’t go there….
Back to bordetella….
Lots of folks may feel, what the heck, even if it doesn’t help, it can’t hurt. But the truth is, it can hurt. Every time you inject your dog with a foreign substance there is a chance things could go wrong.
Just so you know, kennel cough can be a combination of germs not limited to the bordetella bacteria.
Also, this vaccine may be effective for all of 6 months. So are you going to vaccinate every 6 months x 15 years of a dog’s life???
Would you get vaccinated every 6 months for the rest of your life for the common cold??
For Shetland Sheepdogs that are groomed or boarded here, I do not require this vaccination. I do not vaccinate my pups with it either.
Any dog that is relatively healthy and has a decent immune system will fight any environmental infection without difficulty. It is a self limiting disease, meaning, without doing anything, it will go away.
Please, don’t let bad science (read: no science) make you feel that you have to subject your Sheltie to this insanity. Tell your groomer, boarding kennel, or training facility that you are willing to sign a waiver relieving them of any liability should your dog get kennel cough. Either that or let them know why you are walking away.
What? They worry that your dog may bring kennel cough into the facility and give it to other dogs?? Hmmm, didn’t they just say that all the dogs are vaccinated?? Doesn’t that mean the dogs are protected??
They can’t have it both ways. They should be made very aware of their lack of logic.
But you don’t have to believe me, do a little research of your own. There are others who realize how this bordetella vaccine is a waste of time and money.