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INFECTIOUS BRONCHITIS - The Cough

Infectious bronchitis, the so-called cough can be caused by several organisms. Some of these, the virus components, are covered with modern polyvalent vaccines using primary and booster vaccination programs. However there is another main culprit called Bordetella bronchiseptica. This is a bacterium, not a virus and infection can lead to a persistent hacking cough that lasts for several weeks.

Is this kennel cough?

Yes, it is. Infection spreads from dog to dog through the air and obviously activities resulting in close congregation of dogs results in the likelihood of the spread of the disease. It was for this reason that it was originally called kennel cough. Dogs would regularly pick up the infection when boarded, particularly during the owner's summer holiday. However other activities such as puppy parties, shows and training classes can also be a source of spread of the disease.

Why is it now called Infectious Bronchitis?

In many urban and suburban areas the condition is very prevalent in dogs that have never been shown, been in kennels or attended any sort of training classes. Since the infection is spread from dog to dog, through the air, when it is common in an area dogs merely meeting in the street or the park can be sufficient to transmit the disease.

The Bordetella organism causes inflammation of the tubes in the lungs, bronchi, and therefore infectious bronchitis is a much better term.

Can it be prevented?

Yes. Bordetella infection, Bordetellosis or infectious bronchitis can be effectively prevented by vaccination which involves the instillation of a few drops into the dog's nostrils. No injection is involved. The vaccine produces an immunity within 5 days and can be given on its own or at the same time as either the primary or booster vaccinations against distemper, virus hepatitis, leptospirosis and parvovirus.

Does it last as long as the boosters against the other diseases?

No. Vaccination provides very good local immunity. However it is not as long lasting as vaccination against other diseases and in areas where the condition is particularly rife, or if the dog is going to be subjected to more challenge, for example, going to a show or going on holiday to another area, we suggest a booster. To ensure a solid immunity boosters should be administered every six months.

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