The boarding and veterinary industry believe that a dog who is exposed to one-on-one contact with another dog such as in boarding, day care or dog park situations needs to receive a Bordetella vaccination every six months. The recommendations of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)’s Drug Task Force highly recommends the Bordetella vaccination for all dogs in any dog-to-dog contact situations.
Infectious tracheobronchitis is a highly contagious, upper-respiratory disease that is spread by any one of three infectious agents (parainfluenza, adenovirus, or Bordetella) or any combination thereof - most often passed on through the air, it can also be transmitted on hands or clothing. The incubation period of the disease is roughly three to ten days and an infected pet may be contagious for three weeks after showing the first signs of illness. The main symptom is a hacking cough, sometimes accompanied by sneezing and nasal discharge, which can last from a few days to several weeks. Although this coughing is very annoying, it does not usually develop into anything more serious; however, just as with a common cold, it can lower the dog’s resistance to other diseases making it susceptible to secondary infections, and so the dog must be observed closely to avoid complications. Canine cough can be an especially serious problem for puppies and geriatric dogs whose immune systems may be weaker.
Just as in the case of the common cold, tracheobronchitis is not “cured” but must run its course; however, any animal displaying signs of the illness should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Many times antibiotics will be prescribed to prevent secondary infection, and sometimes cough suppressants will be prescribed to reduce excessive coughing, but these medications do not attack the disease itself. Home remedy treatments for canine cough without the consultation of a veterinarian are not recommended.