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Dog Illness Alert: Increase in Kennel Cough in the Milwaukee Area
[April 03, 2014]

Dog Illness Alert: Increase in Kennel Cough in the Milwaukee Area

GLENDALE, Wis. --(Business Wire)--

The Emergency and Critical Care Department at Lakeshore Veterinary Specialists has noted an increasing trend in the number of cases diagnosed with kennel cough in the past few weeks and would like to alert the general public about this disease.

Kennel cough, also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious disease and has a variety of causative organisms including several bacteria (Bordatella bronchiseptic, Mycoplasma species as well as Streptococcus species and occasionally Pasteurella species) as well as viruses (adenovirus, parainfluenza, distemper, etc.).

Symptoms of the disease may include coughing, hacking, gagging with or without producing white or colored sputum, nasal and/or ocular discharge, lethargy. Often the coughing or hacking can be brought on by an increased activity level. Dogs that congregate in groups (such as daycare or dog parks) will have an increased risk of exposure, as it is spread from dog to dog through oral and airway secretions.

The dagnosis of kennel cough can be made with your primary care or emergency veterinarian, and is often based on clinical signs and a physical examination. Tests (such as airway samples for culture and/or DNA analysis) may be collected to confirm the diagnosis.

"Many times the disease is self-limiting, meaning that it requires no specific treatment or medications. However, it is imperative that such a decision be made only after the dog is thoroughly examined by a veterinarian," said Lakeshore Board-Certified Emergency and Critical Care Specialist Dr. Drew Linklater. "Treatment with antibiotics may be initiated to treat or prevent additional bacterial infections or for patients that are severely affected. Cough suppressants are sometimes prescribed for severely affected dogs as well. Additional treatments may be necessary based on the severity of infection. Rarely, animals that have a compromised immune system or are severely affected may require intensive care with oxygen and injectable antibiotics along with other medical supportive measures."

Preventative care (vaccinations) may be helpful in reducing the severity of clinical signs, and chances of infection; however vaccines do not treat the disease after it is contracted and do not prevent all dogs from contracting the disease given the wide variation of causes.

If your dog has any symptoms that may indicate kennel cough, visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.


Lakeshore Veterinary Specialists serves pets throughout SE Wisconsin and northern Illinois offering 24/7 emergency and specialty care in Glendale, Oak Creek, and Port Washington. Lakeshore was recently named the first Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (VECCS) Certified Level 1 Emergency and Critical Care Facility in the nation. For more information on any of Lakeshore's services, visit or call 414.540.6710.

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