What's Going Around in Pets: kennel cough and parvovirus - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

What's Going Around in Pets: kennel cough and parvovirus

Pets are boarded the most during summer months as their owners take summer vacations and this can expose cats and dogs to potentially dangerous bacteria or viruses.  Veterinarian Jae Chang with Farr Veterinary Clinic in Lake Charles explains what's going around in pets this summer.

First up is kennel cough, an upper respiratory infection that has both viral and bacterial components.  It i's something only seen in dogs and spread through direct contact with an infected dog or through the air.  "If a dog has kennel cough, some of the signs that owners will see at home are coughing, a really dry hacking cough," said Dr. Chang, "they usually say, 'My dog is trying to cough something up, something's stuck in their throat.'"

Kennel cough will usually get better after a week or two, but if you want to speed up the process, a vet can prescribe antibiotics to help with the bacterial infection.

Next, a potentially deadly virus seen in dogs and cats: parvo.  "They either die from severe dehydration from the vomiting and diarrhea or they can die of sepsis, which is the bacteria infecting the whole body," said Dr. Chang.

If you notice vomiting or diarrhea in your dog or cat, definitely see your vet soon.

Parvovirus typically requires hospitalization and IV treatment.  It is spread from an infected dog to dog or infected cat to cat or through contaminated soil.  "The parvovirus itself is a pretty hearty organism, meaning that it can live in the soil, in the ground for months," said Dr. Chang.

To prevent parvo and kennel cough, make sure your dog is up to date on vaccines.  Parvo vaccines are available for dogs and cats.  The bordetella vaccine protects dogs from kennel cough, although it is not 100 percent effective in preventing it.

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