Disease Detectors: Kennel Cough

Kennel cough, or canine infectious tracheobronchitis, can happen due to many viruses and bacteria. Bordetella is a main bacterial cause of kennel cough, which can also be paired with a virus; so not only does the dog have Bordetella, it may also have another virus, such as canine herpes, canine distemper, or the parainfluenza virus.
While kennel cough can seem bad, what with the terrible hacking coughing and choking it can cause, it usually isn’t serious, and many dogs can get themselves better without treatment.

Causes

Dogs can get kennel cough by being exposed to infected particles of viruses or bacteria that are in the air. Once inhaled, the particles can coat the respiratory tract.
Usually, this tract has a layer of mucus that protects the tract from infection and diseases, but this lining can be weakened by cold temperatures, cigarette smoke, crowded shelter/kennel conditions, and stress because of travel. Once weakened, the mucus cannot combat the particles, and the dog can get sick.

Symptoms

Kennel cough can be categorized by a few symptoms listed here:

*Excessive coughing
*Sneezing/runny nose
*Eye discharge
*Loss of appetite
*Low energy

Prevention/Treatment

Kennel cough is contagious, so if you have more than one dog and suspect one of them has kennel cough, immediately separate the sick dog from the other(s).
Contact your veterinarian if you think your dog has kennel cough, or is having any abnormal symptoms similar to those above, as these can also sometimes indicate other more serious problems.
Dogs can usually fight off kennel cough on their own, but you may want to get medication from your veterinarian.
Use a harness when the sick dog is on a leash to minimize coughing and discomfort.
Avoid leaving your dog in kennels that seem overcrowded, unsanitary, or poorly ventilated.
Dogs with kennel cough will usually bounce back within three weeks, but if not, contact your veterinarian. Prolonged kennel cough can lead to pneumonia.

Disease Detectors: Feline URIs

An upper respiratory infection (or URI for short) in cats is usually caused by viruses; particularly the herpes virus. Once a cat has gotten the virus, he/she can become a carrier; not always suffering from symptoms, but still harboring the infection. A URI is very infectious, and can spread throughout a shelter/kennel fast by means of nasal discharge, the sharing of water/food bowls, and through grooming.

The other way a URI can be caused is through bacteria. This is less common, and can be found in overcrowded shelters and other stressful situations.

The general symptoms of URIs are:
*Coughing
*Sneezing with Discharge
*Drooling
*Fever
*Nasal/Oral Ulcers
*Rapid Breathing/Open Mouth Breathing
*Irritated Eyes

Stress is a key factor in the development of URIs; cats who are under high stress, especially in shelter conditions, are more susceptible.
Flat-faced breeds, such as Persians, are more prone to URIs because of their already impaired breathing from their unique facial structures.

Upper respiratory infections are usually treated with medication, and, in the case of a multi-cat household, isolation. The best way to make sure a cat recovers is to bring him/her to a veterinarian who can properly prescribe the best method of treatment. If a cat with a URI is left untreated, the infection can escalate drastically to pneumonia and even blindness as well as permanent breathing issues.

URIs are preventable by:
*Keeping Cats Indoors
*Keep Stress at a Minimum
*Keep Cats up to Date with Vaccines
*Wash Hands After Becoming in Contact with Infected Cats