Vet Hansel answers your questions about pet care in this weekly advice column, created in partnership with the Bahrain Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA). It will also highlight each week some of the animals in the BSPCA sanctuary, in the hope of finding each of them in a loving home.
Question: My dog Seph often plays with other dogs in the neighbourhood and has recently developed a hacking cough. Could he have caught it from them?
Answer: It is possible that Seph has caught Infectious Canine Tracheobronchitis, more commonly known as Kennel Cough.
It is an upper respiratory tract infection caused by a combination of the canine parainfluenza virus and the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica.
The infection is highly contagious and can spread quickly amongst dogs at close quarters; Seph might even have caught it from simply greeting another dog who is infected.
A persistent dry, hacking cough is the main symptom but in most cases, the dogs will appear otherwise healthy.
There may be no changes to his appetite and activity level, but he may gag and cough up a white, foamy phlegm after exercise or if he’s excited and pulls against his collar.
The best way to avoid Kennel Cough is to immediately isolate Seph from all other dogs, then call a veterinarian. Also let your neighbours know to have their dogs checked if they are showing symptoms.
There are some things you can do to make your dog more comfortable.
A humidifier can provide some relief and allowing him into the bathroom while you shower may help as the steam will help soothe his breathing.
Avoid exposing him to cigarette smoke or other noxious, irritating fumes. If he pulls against his collar while being walked, replace it with a harness.
Kennel Cough typically lasts for one or two weeks. However, if your dog has been coughing for longer and has symptoms such as lethargy and loss of appetite it is highly recommended that you take him to the vet for an x-ray to be on the safe side.
In severe cases, the infection can lead to more serious complications and the constant hacking can cause damage to the trachea.
Unvaccinated puppies, young dogs, mature, pregnant or immune compromised dogs may experience more severe symptoms and may have a longer recovery time.
It is important to thoroughly disinfect (with animal-friendly products) any items that may have come into contact with a dog suffering from the condition.
Your dog’s best defence against any infection is a strong immune system which you can boost with nutrition, exercise, regular vet checks and proper care.
l Dr Hansel is a veterinary consultant and surgeon for the BSPCA and Charis vets. Please send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
BSPCA’S DOG OF THE WEEK IS XENA
Age: 4.5 months
Xena is a playful and beautiful little puppy. Unlike her namesake Xena the warrior princess, our little Xena is completely the opposite. She is very charming, lovable and a perfect playmate for children. She likes it very much when volunteers take her for a walk and eagerly leads them around the shelter. She has a very light and feel-good personality that one can’t help but be attached to her once you meet this vibrant little girl. Her character is so infectious that you won’t ever get enough of her. Xena is tick treated and fully vaccinated.
BSPCA’S CAT OF THE WEEK IS EUGENE
Age: 2 years 1 month
Eugene is a very chilled, smoky, grey cat who has a luxuriously long and soft fur. He likes to spend his time snoozing or just lounging around, earning him the title of ‘The King of Relaxation’. He is least bothered about all the commotion in the cat house, and likes to take things slow and easy; this makes him happy. Eugene is a handsome little lion and a royalty of a cat that’s nice to have on your lap and gives you cuddles. Eugene is neutered and fully vaccinated.
l If you are interested in adopting Xena, Eugene or any of our other cats, kittens, dogs and puppies, please visit the Animal Welfare Centre in Askar. From the Alba roundabout take the road sign posted Askar and Durrat Al Bahrain and at the third signal, take a right on to the truck road and after approximately 800m you will see the shelter on the right side, just before the flyover. Or, log onto the website www.bspca.org for directions. The shelter is open seven days a week from 9am to 5pm from Sundays to Thursdays and 9am to 1pm on Fridays, Saturdays and public holidays. We accept animals 24 hours a day, seven days a week.