Rex is a 13 year mix breed dog that we have been treating for arthritis with combination therapy – laser treatments, adequan injections, joint diets, dasuquin, duralactin and acupuncture for the past few months. Rex responded wonderfully to treatment and has had marked pain relief and is able to walk and climb stairs again without trouble now! We love knowing that we can help our senior patients still enjoy a comfortable quality life with the help of these supplements and our therapeutic laser. However, the story does not end here.
A few weeks ago, Rex presented for vomiting and lethargy. We were able to help Rex by recognizing his kidney disease early with the help of our in-house blood machines. Initially, Rex was hospitalized and treated with aggressive supportive care and monitoring. Rex’s kidney values gradually improved and he was sent home with medications and fluids that could be administered at home to keep him feeling good. Rex has had three recheck appointments and he is still eating, feeling well and his values are near normal. Rex is a wonderful example of what can be done to treat common diseases that affect our senior patients. We are so happy that is he living out his golden years comfortably and happy with his caring and loving family.
Does my dog need the Bordetella vaccine? Common questions about a preventable very contagious cough–
Whether you refer to it as “kennel cough” or “infectious tracheobronchitis”, many people do not know of how common this illness really is and refuse to vaccinate their dogs for this disease. So, how can a Bordetella vaccine be helpful even if your pet is never boarded?
Infectious tracheobronchitis, otherwise known as “kennel cough”, is a communicable bronchitis in dogs that is often found anywhere dogs congregate. Naturally, boarding kennels come to mind, but quite often, people will forget that grooming salons, dog parks, pet superstores or even their favorite veterinary hospital can also be potential sources of infection.
Dogs who contract tracheobronchitis will produce a rough, hacking cough that many owners will describe as the pet trying to cough something up or even retch. Spasms, or coughing fits, are not uncommon and some people relate that their pets seem worse at night.
Kennel cough can be caused by a wide variety of organisms, including canine adenoviruses, canine distemper virus and a bacterial species that goes by the name of Bordetella bronchiseptica. Other viruses, such as canine herpesviruses or reoviruses are also thought to contribute to the disease and it is not uncommon to see more than one pathogen involved. Canine Influenza is another common illness that can be prevented by annual vaccination.
Infected dogs will spread viruses or bacteria through airborne particles where healthy dogs can inhale them. In some cases, the germs can also spread via toys or food dishes. Dogs that are exposed will generally show signs of illness within two to fourteen days and may act sick for an additional two weeks. In many cases, the disease is very mild and your pup may never run a fever or act as if anything is wrong. However, this is a disease that can progress to pneumonia and be life-threatening.
What’s even worse is that a pet who has recovered from this illness could potentially infect other dogs for up to two or three months! So, that normal looking dog at the busy city dog park could, in fact, be sharing some nasty germs as he plays with his doggie pals!
Like many diseases we see in pets, proactive prevention is the key to stopping kennel cough. Most dogs will receive vaccinations against canine adenoviruses and parainfluenza when they receive their canine distemper and canine parvovirus vaccines. In addition, Bordetella vaccination is available and can help limit the severity of the illness if your pet is ever exposed to this bacterium. We have an oral vaccine at Peace Love Pets – so this makes it even easier on your pet.
The Bordetella vaccine is considered to be a “non-core” vaccine by the American Animal Hospital Association. This means that not all pets need this vaccination, so the choice to vaccinate should be based on the pet’s risk factors. As mentioned above, if your pet is routinely groomed, enjoys trips to the local dog park or even gets to go shopping with you at the big box pet food store, he is likely being exposed to the agents that cause kennel cough.
Vaccination against the Bordetella bacterium will generally provide immunity for about one year. So, pets at risk will need annual boosters and some pets who board frequently or visit grooming salons regularly may actually benefit from re-vaccination every 6 months. Experts also recommend getting your pet a booster vaccination five days or more prior to possible exposure, if more than six months have passed since the last vaccination.