Vet recommending kennel cough vaccine for dogs in the St. John’s area

Staff ~ The Telegram
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Dog owners in St. John’s are still being cautioned about an outbreak of kennel cough.

Warning signs have been posted by the city at dog parks to advise pet owners of an outbreak of kennel cough. — Photo by Barb Sweet/The Telegram

Signs have been posted at all dog parks warning of the upper respiratory infection. Dogs who have the illness aren’t allowed in and other dog owners are being advised to get the kennel cough vaccine for their canines.

Although the vaccine may be only 60-75 per cent effective, city veterinarian Dr. Heather Hillier said it’s still recommended because it can help offset complications as some dogs could develop pneumonia.

The vaccine is similar to the human flu shot, it can’t cover all forms of the virus. There are actually five or six different kinds involved in kennel cough.

Dogs who have kennel cough shouldn’t be in contact with other dogs until at two weeks after the symptoms have stopped, Hillier said.

Dog owners should also keep their dogs away from high dog traffic areas, like walking trails, or at least use caution.

Hillier said it’s not known how long the virus can survive outside in cooler weather.

Even though some of the symptoms of kennel cough can be treated at home, Hillier said it’s best to consult a veterinarian as a hacking cough could be a sign of something more severe, like congestive heart failure or lung worm — both of which need quick intervention.

The kennel cough hack can sound like a dog has something stuck in their throat. They may also have a snotty nose.

Hillier said dogs should not be treated with human cough syrup or pain medications like Tylenol, which can be toxic to a dog.

But a little bit of honey can help, as can putting a dog in the shower to relieve congestion, or using other methods used to relieve congestion in a baby.

She noted every three or four years there is an explosion of kennel cough cases. She expects the outbreak to decrease as the weather grows colder.

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Recent comments

  • Stefanie
    October 22, 2013 - 07:17

    Yes, definitely be cautious. My dog has kennel cough at the moment and I have no idea where he picked it up as we no longer go to dog parks. This the second time he's picked it up, so I recognized it right away. But I will also say this: don't be fooled by you veterinarian. I no longer trust any of them, because it's all a money grab. I took my dog in on Saturday to get some antibiotics for the cough. My vet didn't even believe me when I said my dog had it because he wasn't coughing at the time, even though I told him he has been coughing consistently over the previous couple of days, coupled with a runny nose. He examined my dog and said he was perfectly healthy. Lungs and heart sound good. Good weight. Appetite fine. Active. And then my dog started coughing for a couple of seconds, and the vet said, "Oh yes, he does sound like he has it! But it is quite possibly cancer so I suggest you get x-rays done right away." Seriously. He has just told me that my dog was perfectly healthy, and then tried to scare me into spending hundreds of dollars on x-rays, on top of the $171 I had to pay anyway. This is the second time the same vet pulled this on me, but last time I did what he said, because he told me that my dog had bloat when he had simply eaten too much and had a full belly. Moral of the story: You know your pet best. Don't blindly believe you vet because most (not all) are in it to make money. Do your research and make an informed decision!