Participants are reminded of the increase in greyhounds with Kennel Cough within Victoria in the last few weeks.
Symptoms continue to be relatively mild with no obvious clinical signs other than a dry, husky cough that generally lasts for 3-4 days. Not all dogs within a kennel will develop signs, and younger dogs appear more susceptible than older dogs, which may have some immunity from previous infection.
The incubation period (period from exposure to development of cough) appears to be about 7-10 days, however signs may develop the day after a race or trial where the greyhound performed below expectations.
Most dogs recover without treatment, but you should seek advice from your veterinarian, particularly if signs of more severe infection or illness develop.
GRV has conducted diagnostic testing (Canine Respiratory Panel PCR) from throat swabs of some affected greyhounds and early results have detected the bacteria Mycoplasma cynos in some samples, and it is likely to be contributing to the current increase in Kennel Cough cases.
There is no vaccine available for Mycoplasma cynos, and it is often present in the upper respiratory tract of healthy dogs but it is increasingly being recognised as a cause of Kennel Cough, including in the recent outbreak in New Zealand greyhounds.
While treatment is often not required, veterinary treatment guidelines would involve the antibiotic doxycycline, however New Zealand veterinarians found azithromycin more effective.
Bleach (sodium hypochlorite) based kennel disinfectants will be more effective than quaternary ammonium compounds (e.g. benzalkonium chloride) and should be used in kennels and on equipment, and good external ventilation / air flow maintained, as it is spread by droplets and recirculating air-conditioning may increase the rate of spread as will direct contact (e.g. bowls, muzzles, lures/toys, vehicles/trailers, bedding, etc).
GRV thanks participants for their cooperation and reminds them that if they suspect their greyhound may have Kennel Cough, they must scratch them from any races they are nominated in, do not trial them or take them to other communal training facilities, and withdraw them from GAP intakes.
Allowing Kennel Cough cases to spread will impact on all aspects of the industry, including GAP intakes, and so minimising their contact with other greyhounds and ensuring good hygiene/biosecurity practices is vital to limiting spread and impact.
Once coughing starts, greyhounds should be isolated from healthy dogs and have around 3 weeks off racing dependent on degree of clinical signs.
Healthy greyhounds can continue racing, but if they are kennelled with other greyhounds with Kennel Cough it is strongly advised to take a cautious approach and scratch those greyhounds too, as they may be incubating the disease.
Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (Kennel Cough) is a complex disease and can involve many different viruses and bacteria, including those normally present within the respiratory tract that take advantage when things aren’t normal to cause more severe disease.
If you have not had your greyhounds vaccinated for Kennel Cough in the last 6-12 months, please ensure you speak to your veterinarian about improving their immunity by giving a booster vaccination now.
While not effective against all forms of Kennel Cough, we know the intra-nasal or oral vaccine is faster acting and more likely to be effective than an injectable vaccine both for the individual dog and the wider population.
For more information including clinical signs, biosecurity information, vaccination considerations and avoiding a positive swab to cough medicines, please visit KENNEL COUCH FACT SHEET and KENNEL COUGH FACT SHEET.
A recent, detailed scientific review article for Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (Kennel Cough) is also available HERE.
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