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Pet Blog

by PetVets

Kennel Cough in Dogs

Infectious tracheobronchitis, commonly known as kennel cough, is a canine respiratory infection caused by a virus and/or a bacterial infection of the upper airway causing coughing.


Kennel cough is airborne and very contagious. It can be transmitted by aerosols released when a sick animal coughs, by direct contact with an infected animal, or by the sharing of contaminated objects such as water bowls or toys.


A persistent cough that may sound as if something is caught in your pet’s throat. Symptoms usually develop three to ten days after exposure to an infected animal. Dogs usually remain bright and eat normally.


There is no specific test for kennel cough, and diagnosis depends on excluding other causes of coughing by your vet taking a history and examining your dog.


In most cases no medications are given since the disease is self-limiting and will run its course, much like a human cold. Cough suppressants and/or anti-inflammatories may be used to keep your dog more comfortable while they are recovering.

Most cases resolve within 2-3 weeks.

In puppies, elderly dogs or those with existing illnesses, the condition can be more serious and can develop into pneumonia. Some strains of the infection can also be more severe than others.

More serious cases are treated with oral antibiotics and cough suppressants.

It is important to limit contact with other dogs while they are recovering to reduce spread of infection.


There is an intra-nasal vaccination available for the prevention of kennel cough which goes up your dog’s nose in a spray. This lasts for 12 months. The protection provided is not 100% as there are multiple strains of infection which can cause kennel cough, but it does reduce the risk and will also reduce the severity of symptoms if your dog does catch kennel cough.

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