How to protect your furry friends from kennel cough + local vets to go to

kennel cough
It’s important to protect our dogs from this disease. (Barton Perkins / Bham Now)

Birmingham, be on alert for a new sickness in town—this time it’s our furry friends we need to take care of. Vets have been on high alert for kennel cough ever since it started spreading through downtown. Read on to learn more about this disease and some steps you can take to prevent your dogs from getting infected.

What is kennel cough?

DSC 0243 How to protect your furry friends from kennel cough + local vets to go to
A healthy dog is a happy dog. (Barton Perkins / Bham Now)

Kennel cough is a virus that causes a respiratory infection in canines. It usually spreads when dogs are in confined spaces together, like when they are boarded at kennels, hence the name. The disease usually manifests in a loud, honking and unproductive cough, a lack of appetite and a low fever. In healthier dogs, the disease is typically not very dangerous and resolves itself with little to no complications. In young puppies, older dogs and dogs with a weakened immune system kennel cough can lead to a much more serious secondary infection.

Preventing the disease

DSC 0215 How to protect your furry friends from kennel cough + local vets to go to
The best cure for the disease is prevention. (Barton Perkins / Bham Now)

There is a vaccine for kennel cough that vets recommend owners get for their pets, however, it is not effective 100% of the time. As such there are a few other things dog owners should keep in mind to help curb the spread of the virus in the city.

  • Limit exposure to other people’s dogs
  • Avoid boarding pets
  • Limit outings to dog parks
  • Cut back on doggie daycare

“With how social people are with their dogs—going to parks and meeting friends—we generally reccomend people getting their dogs vaccinated once every six months.”

Dr. Mary Claytor, Oxmoor Animal Clinic

Treating kennel cough

DSC 0207 How to protect your furry friends from kennel cough + local vets to go to
How we keep our furry friends safe. (Barton Perkins / Bham Now)

There aren’t really any good treatments for kennel cough out there. In a lot of ways, it’s like the common cold in humans where you just have to treat symptoms and ride the virus out. Vets often prescribe anti-inflammatories and cough suppressants to aid in symptom management. In some extreme cases, antibacterials are prescribed but this isn’t a common occurrence. If you have a dog with kennel cough it’s recommended that you keep them in a well-ventilated area away from other dogs for at least two weeks with lots of rest.

“Treatment will generally be supportive care, it (kennel cough) just kinda needs time to work it’s way out of the dog’s system like any other virus.”

Dr. Mary Claytor, Oxmoor Animal Clinic

Animal clinics in Birmingham

DSC 0217 How to protect your furry friends from kennel cough + local vets to go to
A good vet is worth a lot. (Barton Perkins / Bham Now)

If you have any concerns about your dog coming down with kennel cough, be sure to reach out to your vet immediately. Here are a few local ones that you should be able to visit.

Is your Birmingham vet a lifesaver? Tag us @bhamnow to let us know!

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Barton Perkins
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