Kennel Cough: Contagious timeframes

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Barked: Mon Jul 23, '07 1:10pm PST 
I have a few questions about the contagious timeframes associated with Kennel Cough. Here is the backstory ...

The flyball team that I belong to went to a tournament last weekend (July 14-15). I didn't go as Gio is retired and Romeo is still in training. Yesterday (July 22) was our first practice/class after the rest of the team returned. We had an hour and a half practice time for the team dogs, including those that went to the tournament and a few that did not. Following that is an hour long beginner class, which Romeo is in. I help train in the team practice so Romeo was present, just chilling in the shade until his class. We used the same box and tennis balls during practice/class that were taken to the tournament a week earlier.

This morning I got an e-mail from one of the team members that had gone to the tournament saying that one of her dogs has come down with Kennel Cough, she is suspecting he picked it up at the tournament. Symptoms began last night. Shortly after this e-mail I received another one from another team member saying that her dog, also at the tournament, now has Kennel Cough. Symptoms began this morning. One of the two affected dogs was at practice/class last night.

Now here come my questions.
1) Is a dog that is not exhibiting symptoms still contagious for Kennel Cough?
2) How long does Kennel Cough survive on fomites (ie. the tennis balls)?
3) How long does it generally take for symptoms to manifest after exposure?

I am mainly concerned because Gio has Rally-O class this evening. Romeo was at flyball last night, then came home and cuddled/wrestled/loved on Gio.

Should I keep Gio away from Rally-O class tonight, even if he is not exhibiting symptoms?

To add to the mess, we have our monthly team meeting for the flyball club this Thursday at the house of one of the ladies with the affected dogs. Can humans be a carrier for Kennel Cough? Should I worry about taking it home to the boys after the meeting?

Thanks guys. I know that is a weird twisting story. Hope it made sense! big grin

Will Work For- Food
Barked: Mon Jul 23, '07 1:27pm PST 
Hi Gio,
I believe that the incubation period for kennel cough is about 5-10 days and that dogs are contagious before they show any symptoms. This is why it spreads so easily. The good news is that kennel cough usually does not need any treatment in a dog with a healthy immune system and since your dogs are raw fed, their immune systems should be fine (unless they have been ill recently). Kennel cough is often compared to the common cold in people ; it will usually go away on it's own. I would carefully watch a young puppy however, as they are more suseptable to having secondary infections. Since you are involved in dogs sports, as we are, it will be difficult to always keep your dogs away from kennel cough. It is too late to vaccinate if they have already been exposed, but that is something to think about for the future. I prefer not to vaccinate because there are several strains of kennel cough and I believe the vaccine only protects them against 2 strains - I also just don't like to over vaccinate. Should you keep your dogs out of classes for a while? That is totally up to you. Personally, I wouldn't, only because they can be exposed at any time you take your dog to class or to any place that dogs are. As for the ball and flyball box, I am not too sure, but since kennel cough is airborne I'm not sure if it will survive on objects.

Edited to add : humans cannot carry the kennel cough virus, we do have our own version though - whooping cough.

Edited by author Mon Jul 23, '07 1:29pm PST


Barked: Mon Jul 23, '07 2:19pm PST 
Thanks Bosley.

I'm not really concerned about the Kennel Cough itself, just didn't know what to expect for how contagious it is and how careful I should be about potentially spreading to other dogs. Romeo is crazy healthy, so no concerns there. Gio has been sickly lately but seems to be on an upswing and is doing better now than he has in quite a while. I think the plan is to wash all the tennis balls, just in case. We generally do that every once in a while anyways, just to get that darn Border Collie slobber off! BOL

I prefer not to vaccinate more than necessary, and since Kennel Cough isn't a huge problem and both of my guys are on the healthy side, I've never bothered to get it done. I'll probably take Gio to class tonight, the chance of him getting it through Romeo and then passing it to another dog without any of them being noticeably ill seems pretty slim. And darn near all of the dogs that will be at class tonight are raw fed as well, and healthy beasties!

Thanks for the clarification and answers!! hail