It's alarming to think that pet owners can order canine vaccines online, including Kennel Cough vaccines, and administer them at home without veterinarian involvement.
After all, we know that vaccination decisions should be
part of each pet's veterinary wellness checkup and disease screenings, since each dog presents with different risk factors based on age, health, activities, underlying conditions, potential infections and access to other dogs.
When it comes to protecting dogs from the highly contagious Kennel Cough (also known as Bordatella, infectious tracheobronchitis or Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease/CIRD), the main message from veterinarians should always be, "Don't try this at home."
Whether pet owners are trying the "DIY" (Do-It-Yourself) approach or worse, nothing at all, one thing is clear, an increase in Kennel Cough is affecting some doggie daycars, particularly in the Chicago area this spring. Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin identified the strain of that outbreak as Canine Influenza H3N2… and support the need for veterinary oversight on vaccination protocols while also identifying a broader group of dogs at risk. Current data supports protection not only for dogs in boarding or day care, etc., but also dogs that are walked in areas frequented by other dogs.
Therefore, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is this:
Help your customers be the go-to resource for preventative vaccines, such as Kennel Cough vaccines, for all at-risk dogs.
With various forms of Kennel Cough vaccines available (injectables, nasal mists and oral) — and from several top brands (Bronchi-Shield® ORAL from Boehringer Ingelheim; Merial’s RECOMBITEK® family of vaccines; Nobivac® Intra-Trac®3 ADT from Merck Animal Health; as well as others) — every practice can find vaccine products and protocols that work best for their workflow and their patients.
The main point is, you can help your customers select the best option(s) and steer their clients to education tools so dog owners don't even consider the "DIY" approach.
Busy practices (and distribution reps!) can become overwhelmed and distracted with all the information out there. So keep it simple.
During your clinic visits, share the following resources with your customers so they can find easy ways to talk with pet owners about the critical need for Kennel Cough prevention:
- The Boehringer Ingelheim's Kennel Cough/Bronchi-Shield® ORAL information website includes a video demonstration of how easy it is to give this oral preventative to dogs. [Watch this SoundByte video on Bronchi-Shield ORAL® to find out how best to present it to your veterinarian customers.]
- DogInfluenza.com, a Merck website, offers current research and updates on the canine influenza virus and includes a warning, "Oral and injectable canine cough vaccines just provide bordetella protection." If you're talking with a practice looking for broader protection, you'll want to point them to this website.
- Merial's Recombitek website includes health information about causes and signs of Kennel Cough.
- The AAHA website, Pets Matter, offers a very informative article on Kennel Cough, including what pet owners should watch for and when to talk with their veterinarian.
These are just a few resources. Ask the manufacturers you deal with for tools you can use during clinic visits so practices can help stop the spread of Kennel Cough!