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Kennel Cough Should Be Called Kennel Hack - tips for dog walking clients to keep in mind

David Levin, owner of Citizen Hound dog walking service in San Francisco, on tips for dog walking company clients

Today we had two dog walking clients report Kennel Cough symptoms. Both clients went to the vet last week for different matters and I suspect both dogs picked it up there. The vet's office is always one of the most likely places your dog could pick it up on account of how many dogs per day go through there to be treated for it when it's in its high season, and how easily it's transmitted through nasal passages. The last time we had a few dogs report it each of them had been to the vet in the previous week as well. So, if you are taking your dog to the vet for any reason, if they're small enough bring a carrier and keep them off the floor when possible, and if they're big don't let them smell around or lick anything. Ask the front desk if there have been a lot of cases in their office lately and ask if there's any precautions to make sure yours doesn't pick it up.

REMEMBER!: Kennel cough sounds more like a hack than a cough! It sounds like there's something stuck in the throat or they're gagging. They may do a wheezy cough, or a goose honk like cough, but I've often thought the last few coughs in the series really sound like the dog is trying to gag/hack something up, and sometimes they smack their mouth after like they have produced phlegm. Sometimes they actually do spit up a bit on the ground in front of them. Other symptoms can be runny nose, eye discharge, loss of appetite, and lethargy, though I usually don't see other symptoms at all. I think they're more pronounced in the evenings just like when you have an itchy throat and it gets worse at night. It's imperative owners catch it early so nobody is ever sending their dog out with us, so remember that kennel cough should be renamed to kennel hack.

Just like the human cold can be caused by so many different viruses, Kennel Cough can have many causes including viruses and/or bacteria. Normally it's not that serious and would likely clear on its own, but medicine is usually available and should be used to have it clear more quickly and stop the spread. "One of the most common culprits is a bacterium called Bordetella bronchiseptica m - which is why kennel cough is often called Bordetella. Most dogs that become infected with Bordetella are infected with a virus at the same time. Although vaccines may help, they do not guarantee protection against kennel cough or infectious tracheobronchitis because it can be caused by so many different kinds of bacteria and viruses." - WebMD Pets. We do require all dogs in our dog walking company's care have had their Bordatella vaccine, but they can still get it. Puppies and brachycephalic dogs are especially susceptible. Luckily they can typically be picked up, so do that to minimize your risk at the vet's offie.

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