Kennel cough spreads in Winnemucca

Is your dog coughing, or does he or she spend a lot of time with other Winnemucca-area dogs? Your fur-baby might have kennel cough.

According to a post on the Winnemucca Info Facebook page, kennel cough has spread throughout Winnemucca. A rumor that the shelter has halted adoptions could not be confirmed. Neither Humboldt County Animal Control nor the shelter could be reached for comment by press time.

Kennel cough, also called infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious respiratory infection that affects dogs and can spread to cats and other animals. The virus and bacteria combination is common in shelters, pet daycare centers and boarding centers where dogs congregate. It can spread easily during interaction with an infected animal.

Symptoms of kennel cough include:

• a prolonged strong cough that may have a “honking” sound

• runny nose

• sneezing

• lethargy, or significant lack of energy

• loss of appetite

• low fever

Kennel cough usually isn’t fatal, but it does make the four-legged sufferer pretty miserable. Young and immuno-compromised pets might show more severe symptoms. Since kennel cough is caused by a virus, treatment options are limited, but some medicines, such as antibiotics and cough suppressants, may help ease symptoms. If a pet has contracted kennel cough, the virus will run its course in around 10 to 20 days; however, coughing may persist for weeks after the infection.

Veterinarians can administer an inexpensive kennel cough vaccine if a pet hasn’t caught the virus, or to prevent the illness from returning later. Repeated vaccinations might be necessary. Talk to a veterinarian about specific vaccination needs.

Desert Trail Veterinarian Katie Estill said she has seen a significant uptick of kennel cough cases recently. A pet that hasn’t received a vaccination for kennel cough needs to have one at least 48 hours before going to a heavily dog-populated area like a dog park, she explained.