Vets are warning of an outbreak of kennel cough in Bristol, with one dog-owner saying it left her six-month-old puppy retching and coughing uncontrollably.
Eleanor Greenwood, 24, who lives on Radnor Road in Bishopston, said she was scared after she discovered her dog Olive acting out of character.
She said: “The whole experience was a bit scary for me as I didn’t have any idea what was wrong with her.
“When she would cough and it sounded more like retching – she was even doing it in her sleep.
“She was very lethargic and unlike herself.”
The animator said she immediately took Olive to her to an emergency vet in the early hours of October 24, where she was given an injection to stop her from vomiting.
But she later realised she had spent almost £280 on treatment which did not work, as Olive’s symptoms did not change.
She then decided to take her to Vets4pets in Bishopston, where she was informed that Olive did not have stomach issues, but had a case of Kennel cough.
Miss Greenwood said the practice told her there was an outbreak in the Bishopston area and to keep her away from other dogs.
She said: “It was a very stressful time as she was so weak and I couldn’t believe that it wasn’t compulsory to vaccinate puppies against this illness.”
Miss Greenwood’s said Kennel cough injection is not given as part of standard vaccinations for puppies, so warned “if there’s an outbreak your dog may be at risk”.
For her, it is frustrating knowing her dog will need to be isolated amidst “our own human pandemic” and urges owners to ask for their pups to be vaccinated.
A spokesperson for Vets4pets said: “We are seeing and hearing of cases of kennel cough in the area. It is definitely a higher rate of contraction out there at the moment.
“Normally we would only hear of two cases a month, but over the past four weeks we are getting daily phone calls from owners reporting possible symptoms.”
The practice is unsure of why there has been an increase in the past few months said the illness is infectious and can easily be transmitted to other dogs.
Vets4pets said: “If a dog gets kennel cough and the owner does not isolate them straight away, then it can be passed on quite quickly.
“Dogs who have this virus should remain isolated until the cough goes away.”
According to the practice if a dog is relatively healthy it is not fatal, but like humans, it can take five to seven days to completely clear or three to four weeks.
The Bristol Animal Health Centre on Gloucester Road has also witnessed a rise in kennel cough the last two weeks.
A spokesperson said: “We have seen an increase in coughing dogs being presented at the practice and we can’t be certain that it is Kennel cough but it is presenting as those sort of symptoms.
“Kennel cough can be prevalent in all dogs as it’s a virus that is contagious therefore, if people do see it in the area, then it can be transferred between dogs easily.
“At the practice we would recommend any of our clients coming in and having a vaccine done for kennel cough as soon as they can or if they are concerned.”
The Animal Health Centre said dog owners should get a Kennel Cough vaccine done and if your dog has contracted the virus to stay at home, only take short walks outside and avoid mixing with other dogs.
What is Kennel Cough?
According to the PDSA: “Kennel cough is an airway infection that causes a dry hacking cough in dogs.
“Similar to human colds, kennel cough can be caused by a number of different germs (viruses and bacteria).
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“It’s most common in areas where lots of different dogs gather (such as kennels, dog shows and doggy day care) and can survive in the environment for several weeks.
“Kennel cough spreads by direct contact between dogs, in the air and on surfaces (such as food bowls and leads).
“Dogs with kennel cough should be kept away from other dogs and public spaces while they are coughing, and for two to three weeks afterwards.
“Coughing is the most common symptom of kennel cough, but in more severe cases, it can cause symptoms such as a high temperature or a reduced appetite.”
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The website says the virus can clear without mediation at home however, in severe cases it is recommended that your dog is taken to your local veterinarian where anti-inflammatory or antibiotics can be administered.
How to prevent it
PDSA says: “Vaccination is the best way to prevent kennel cough, and is especially necessary if your dog spends lots of time with other dogs or goes into kennels.”