Kennel Cough in Dogs

       Kennel cough is an infectious respiratory disease of dogs. The more scientific name for the disease is canine infectious tracheobronchitis. Kennel cough is usually caused by a bacterium called Bordetella, but other bacteria and certain viruses can also play a role in the disease.
       Clinical signs of kennel cough include a hacking, honking cough that is usually not productive. Dogs generally continue to act normally (eating, drinking, active) but have a persistent cough that can last for several weeks. Dogs spread kennel cough to each other through the air with small particles being passed from one dog to the other. Usually, dogs catch kennel cough in crowded areas where lots of other dogs are present such as boarding kennels, grooming salons, or dog parks.
       Cases of kennel cough usually resolve on their own, but antibiotics and cough medications can help your dog recover more quickly. It may also be helpful to use a harness instead of a collar and leash because putting pressure on the trachea (windpipe) can make coughing worse. It’s best to see your veterinarian if your dog is showing signs of coughing because there are many other diseases that can cause a dog to cough, some of which are serious and require rapid medical care.
       Though kennel cough cannot be 100% prevented, there are vaccines available to help decrease the chance of your dog getting sick. The two most common types of vaccines are an injectable form (given under the skin) and an intranasal form (given in the nose). Talk with your veterinarian about which is best for your pet.

Kerry Thode, DVM