Dog Owners Warned to Be Alert for Canine Cough

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Dr. Cynthia Maro, of the Ellwood Animal Hospital in Ellwood City received information through the Veterinary Information Network that new outbreaks of canine cough have been occurring in the US. Pet owners should seek veterinary attention for their pets immediately, if they develop of any signs of coughing.

According to PetMD, canine cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease among dogs. As the name suggests, it is typified by inflammation of the trachea and bronchi. This disease is found throughout the world and is known to infect a high percentage of dogs at least once during their lifetime.

Dog owners who have been traveling this summer have been on the alert for canine influenza. In some cases, depending on the region of the country where traveling, owners have been advised to get their dogs vaccinated for canine influenza.

Current canine influenza outbreaks are occurring in Florida, Kentucky, Texas, and Minnesota. In the most recent outbreaks of coughing dogs, occurring in Missouri, Montana, Wyoming and Georgia, the dogs tested have not tested positive for canine influenza nor are they suffering from kennel cough. According to Dr. Christian Leutenegger, director of molecular diagnostics at Idexx Laboratories, Inc., their laboratory is frantically testing for causative agents, so pets can get appropriate treatment.

Both canine influenza and the new outbreaks of cough can lead to pneumonia and death. It is vitally important to see your veterinarian as soon as a cough begins.


  • A persistent cough is the most common symptom
  • Retching
  • Watery nasal discharge
  • In mild cases, dogs are often active and eating normally
  • In severe cases, symptoms progress and can include pneumonia, inappetence, fever, lethargy and even death

When dogs present to the Ellwood Animal Hospital with a cough, they will be seen as potentially infectious patients (isolated away from other pets). Blood and tissue samples collected within 48 hours of cough development will be sent to a veterinary diagnostic laboratory to help researchers pinpoint a causative agent.

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