wWhat is canine infectious tracheobronchitis?
Infectious tracheobronchitis or kennel cough is a highly contagious viral disease that is usually caused by the parainfluenza virus (PIC) or canine adenovirus type 2, agents that weaken the respiratory tract and, as consequently, they facilitate the entry of opportunistic bacteria such as Bordetella bronchiseptica (Bb), producing a bacterial infection and worsening the clinical condition of the animal. However, there have also been cases in which the disease has developed due to the mere presence of the bacterium. Also, these are not the only causes of kennel cough, as there have also been cases caused by herpesvirus and even by the virus that causes moquillo.
In this way, we see how this pathology directly affects the respiratory system, producing an infection that can be more or less severe, depending on the agents acting, the external conditions and the time it takes the infected dog. To get a better idea of the type of disease we face, we could say that kennel cough is very similar to the flu we humans get.
What are the symptoms?
Its main symptom is a dry, hoarse cough of the nervous type, but it does not cause major depression in the dog. It ends with a kind of “arcade” that usually produces a vomit of saliva (it gives the impression that the dog has lodged some strange object in his throat and tries to expel it).
This cough can last for several days and even weeks, depending on the degree of complication of the disease. Coughing usually usually occurs after some state of arousal or physical exertion.
Other symptoms that can occur sporadically are loss of appetite and consequent weight loss as well as apparent sadness (decreased mood). The incubation period of the disease is usually about 3 or 4 days after exposure.
How is it spread?
Being a mild disease, it is easily contagious and its transmission occurs by direct contact or proximity between animals of the same species, being only necessary for the infection to occur coexistence in the same environment (breathing the same air or drinking the same water, for example), as agents penetrate airborne traveling into the microdroplets produced in the cough and sneeze attacks.
Therefore, an animal can spread everywhere: on the street, parks, veterinary clinics, dog residences, competitions and exhibitions, etc. It is even possible to infect your building’s elevator if another carrier dog travels earlier.
What should be done to prevent its spread?
The first step to prevent is to contact your veterinarian to vaccinate your pet before getting the cough (remember that the infection can occur in a simple walk down the street). There are two types of vaccines that immunize against one or more of the viruses and bacteria that cause the disease:
Intranasal vaccine (Nobivac Kc): It is installed in both nostrils (nose) and is much more effective than injectable, as it stimulates more quickly and correctly immunity to bacteria, acting locally in the respiratory tract, which is the area where the disease develops. It is usually effective within 24-72 hours of its implementation.
Subcutaneous vaccine (Pneumodog Merial): It is less effective than intranasal and the first time requires a booster dose administered with an interval of 3 to 4 weeks. This vaccine may be useful in conflicting animals. It should be applied at least 15 days before possible exposure to the disease.
There is a vaccine against Bordetella Bronchiseptica, from other laboratories that are used in combination with polyvalents that carry parainfluenza.
Given the vaccine alternatives, we insist that if your dog has never been vaccinated against this disease, he should be given Nobivac Kc, as it is a single intranasal dose and its effects are almost immediate. Pneumodog Merial can be used for later reminders.
Both must be remembered annually. Vaccines are not curative procedures, so they should not be applied when the animals have contracted the disease. Therefore your vaccine is not one hundred percent effective, like any other, since the causative viruses can mutate from one season to the next.
You should know that the polyvalent vaccine does NOT completely cover the cough, this vaccine only includes the viral part, but it does NOT include the bacterial part. That is why we emphasize the need for this vaccine, “the specific cough.”
Another aspect is to avoid sudden changes in temperature (both in winter and summer), as well as take care of the animal’s diet to keep the immune system and its natural defenses in optimal condition.
What to do if you get the disease?
We have already mentioned that it is not a serious disease and therefore many animals are cured on their own without the need for treatment. In the case of a viral infection, the animal’s body must fight it with its own defenses, so that if treatment is prescribed it will not shorten the duration of the disease, but if it will alleviate the symptoms and prevent possible complications. However, it is always advisable to consult a veterinarian, to discuss the symptoms and rule out another type of disease.