44 Rankeilor Street
Dunedin South, New Zealand, 9012
Phone: 03 456 2345

Canine Cough

Also known as Kennel Cough, this is a highly contagious upper respiratory tract infection of dogs.

The principle clinical sign is coughing, usually sudden onset and following contact with other dogs.

Reduced immunity through stress or inflammation of the airways caused by excessive barking makes infection more likely.

In New Zealand the principle agents causing this disease are the bacteria Bordetella Bronchiseptica, and the viruses Parainfluenza and Adenovirus II. Mycoplasma canis may also be involved.

The Incubation period (from meeting the infectious agents to showing signs) is from 2 to 12 days, and after recovering from the cough, dogs remain symptomless carriers for up to 3 months, so an apparently healthy dog can put others at risk if the other dog is stressed or lacking in immunity.

Vaccination can boost immunity specifically to the causes of canine cough and is usually needed before dogs enter boarding kennels.

Immunity after vaccination lasts between 6 and 13 months and is best boosted more than 5 days before entering a high risk situation.

Vaccination may not prevent infection or clinical signs, but will make the disease milder and of shorter duration.

Without all dogs in a high risk situation being vaccinated the disease would become endemic and more severe.

Kennels are a high risk situation. By operating the kennels in an “all in, all out” basis with a full clean between groups of dogs the build up of infection will be minimised.

Ensuring all dogs entering the kennels have been vaccinated between 5 days and 6 months is recommended. Vaccination within the last year may be adequate.

For more information on Canine Cough the following link may be of interest (note this is US based


Alistair Newbould

BVM&S MVM (Dist)


Contents of this newsletter

01  Digital Radiography

02  Buy 1 get 1 free!

03  Destructive dogs

04  Sharpen those claws

05  Training tips

06  Overcoming cat carrier stress

01 Digital Radiography
Screen Shot 2015 03 02 at 2.29.19 PM

Subtle soft tissue swelling below the 6th lumbar vertebra. We want to follow this lesion so have enlarged the image and measured the lesion. The bony changes along the underside of the spine are 'incidental' findings.

It’s hard to believe but we have had our computerised radiography system in place for more than two years now. This has been a major step forward in our imaging department – the main differences are:

1. Much wider “latitude” than with screen and film systems. Latitude refers to the number of shades of grey available on any image. In practical terms this means cleaner images with more visibility of both soft tissues and bone. And if we the image is not clear in any area, we can adjust the processing to highlight what we want to look at.

2. Measuring tools – the images can be measured and magnified on our computer screen so we can follow changes in structures accurately over time – eg how is bone healing going? how good or bad are those hips?

3. Portability of images. When we refer animals for advanced surgery we simply copy the images into a digital “Dropbox” folder which is shared with the referral centre. They have immediate access, so they know what is coming their way. This is also how we obtain referral interpretation of images.

4. PennHIP. Recently the PennHIP (Pennsylvania State University, Hip Improvement Programme) changed their supplier arrangement. Now all PennHIP images must be digital. It is good to know that we are up to date with both the best way to assess dogs for hip dysplasia, and also the best way to refer the images.

02 Buy 1 get 1 free!

Buy 1x1kg bag of Iams this month and get 1x1kg bag FREE! While stocks last


03 Destructive dogs

Dogs are social creatures and they form strong bonds with people. Having a furry best friend is, without doubt, the greatest thing in the world, but it is not uncommon for your pooch to feel anxious when they are separated from you.

Most dogs will adapt well to daily separation from their owners but unfortunately some dogs will become very distressed and even destructive, a problem known as separation anxiety.

Signs of separation anxiety include:

  • Barking, howling
  • Excessive chewing, digging and pacing
  • Destruction and scratching of barriers - near doors and windows
  • House soiling

In some cases dogs can seriously injure themselves and may severely destroy property. It can also be a very distressing problem for owners.

Tips to help reduce your dog’s anxiety:

  • Take your dog for a walk before you leave the house
  • Don’t make huge fuss when you leave your dog or when you return
  • Start small - leave your dog alone for only five minutes extending to twenty minutes then an hour, then longer
  • Leave your dog with plenty of stimulating toys, chews and mind games
  • Leave the radio or television on for company

Please don't hesitate to speak to us if you think your dog is developing separation problems. We will be able to work with you to improve the situation. 

04 Sharpen those claws

Cats love a good scratch. Not only is it a good form of exercise but they get to sharpen their claws. Scratching also helps them to leave scent markers or a "calling card."

Unfortunately, some cats choose to sharpen their claws on furniture and think that the back of the sofa is just one giant scratching post. Obviously, their interior decorating is not always desirable!  

What to do if your cat is damaging furniture:

  • Place a scratching post right next to the furniture the cat is currently scratching
  • Praise and offer food rewards whenever your cat scratches her scratching post
  • Try offering a variety of scratching substrates; don’t offer just one carpeted scratching post - think cardboard, logs of wood
  • Deter the cat from scratching furniture by placing double-sided sticky tape on it. Many cats find the stickiness of the tape unpleasant

If you’ve tried all these recommendations and your cat is still “redecorating”, ask us for help. 

05 Training tips

If you have just brought home a new puppy, kitten or rescue pet, training should begin straight away. It is easy for a dog or cat to pick up bad habits quickly, especially when they are settling in. If you let your puppy sleep in your bed initially, this is where he will expect to sleep for the rest of his life and it may not be as fun when he grows to be a hairy, slobbering 20kg adult dog!

Make sure you decide on a few ground rules early and stick to them. Short training sessions (up to five minutes) create routine and stimulate your pet’s brain.

Here are a few things to remember:

  • Be consistent
  • Always reward your pet when he is doing the right thing
  • Dogs in particular learn by positive re-enforcement; use treats, pats and a positive voice as a reward
  • Ignore any undesirable behaviour

Puppy Pre School is an excellent opportunity for your pup to learn some basic manners but, most importantly, socialise with other dogs his own age. Your puppy will gain confidence with different doggy personalities making visits to the park in the future much more enjoyable.

Kittens and cats need lots of stimulation so providing a range of toys is important. Scratching posts and climbing poles are also an excellent source of entertainment. Or you could build your cat the ultimate maze!

06 Overcoming cat carrier stress

Getting your cat into a carrier can be a very stressful event and can put you off taking your cat to the vet.

In your cat's mind, nothing good really follows being shoved into a carrier. Dogs leave the house for pleasurable walks but cats are invariably taken somewhere a lot less exciting (i.e to see us!). 

Cats should be secured in the car, not just for their safety but also yours. 

Some tips for reducing cat carrier stress:

  1. Store the carrier in a part of your house that smells like home (not with moth balls or in the dusty garage). Give your cat the chance to rub her scent on the carrier
  2. Get your cat to associate the carrier with good things. Place food in the carrier or special treats. Close the door for a few minutes while she’s inside. Then use the same process when a trip to the vet is on the cards
  3. Cats are smart (“Hmmm, why does my owner have her car keys in her hand? That’s it, I’m outta here!”) so vary your cues and mix up your routine
  4. Bring a towel that smells like home to cover the carrier when you arrive here. Also - don't put the carrier down near a strange dog - it instantly creates stress
  5.  Ask us about Feliway pheromone spray to help your cat feel more secure and safe while in the carrier

We will happily recommend the best carrier for your cat - ask us for advice.