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Cases of kennel cough reported in Juneau

Vet: If your dog has a cough, call its doctor

Posted: January 3, 2014 - 1:06am

Gastineau Humane Society has seen a few cases of kennel cough recently, GHS veterinarian Rachel Berngartt said. But don’t be alarmed — a small uptick in the bacterial infection happens once every couple years in Juneau, she said, and it’s rarely life-threatening for dogs.

However, if you think your dog could have kennel cough, call its vet, she said. Symptoms can vary.

“It can be something as mild as a runny nose or a cough,” she said. “To dogs that can be more symptomatic — have a fever, or they may be coughing so hard they might vomit.”

Kennel cough is an upper respiratory infection and is contagious from dog to dog. Humans can’t catch it, and it’s very rare that a cat would, Berngartt said. If your dog has kennel cough, keep it home — don’t take it to the park or on a trail where it could mingle with other dogs.

“It’s like having a sick kid,” she said. “You don’t want to send your sick kid to school because they just get everyone else sick.”

When you call to make an appointment with your veterinarian, let him or her know if your dog is coughing, she said. There might be a different entrance to the clinic you must use so your dog doesn’t infect others.

Berngartt said this the third or fourth time in her 10 years as a Juneau vet she’s seen a few cases of kennel cough in a short period of time, though it’s not unheard of. As long as your dog isn’t very young or old, it’ll recover from kennel cough without a hitch.

“It’s even of less significance than a human flu,” she said.

• Contact reporter Katie Moritz at 523-2294 or at katherine.moritz@juneauempire.com. Follow her on Twitter @katecmoritz.

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