Kennel cough keeping Nelson animal hospital staff on its toes

An outbreak of kennel cough in Nelson has some dogs needing a little extra attention.

Veterinarian Celeste Bignell

The Nelson Animal Hospital has seen an influx of furry friends recently as an outbreak of kennel cough has local dogs needing some extra attention.

“Over the last couple weeks we’ve seen a lot of kennel cough,” said Dr. Celeste Bignell, veterinarian at the Nelson Animal Hospital.

“The first cases that I was seeing were dogs that had picked it up at the dog walk, but in the last several days it’s been a lot more dogs that have been picking it up because neighboring dogs are sick.

Bignell said that kennel cough is similar to a cold that humans would get.

“It’s just an infection in the upper respiratory tract in dogs and it’s transmitted by breathing the same air that a dog who has the cough breathes,” said Bignell, adding that part of it is viral, and part of it is bacterial.

Similar to a human cold, every dog exposed is not necessarily going to become sick, but Bignell said that some individuals will become quite sick and it can rarely turn into pneumonia.

“Some dogs are getting just a cough but are still quite healthy as far as energy level and appetite… other are becoming very ill, they have a lot of discharge from their noses and sometimes develop a fever,” she said.

Bignell said that the treatment for kennel cough is supportive care.

“A bit of warm water, unpasteurized honey and lemon juice can go a long way to help them with their cough and help them feel better… some of the really sick dogs need to be on IV fluids to maintain their hydration, get their fever under control and make sure they’re eating.”

Kennel cough typically lasts about three weeks and is described as sounding like the dog has something stuck in their throat.

While vaccinations are not 100 per cent protective, Bignell said that if one’s dog is mingling with other canine friends it’s important to ensure their kennel cough vaccine is up to date as unvaccinated dogs are more at risk for acquiring the cough.


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