Dogs and kennel cough

One of the most common respiratory infections in dogs is Infectious tracheobronchitis, which is also known as kennel cough. According to vet professionals, this is a highly contagious infection caused by a combination of infectious agents. Many times, there is a viral infection with the canine parainfluenza virus followed by a secondary bacterial infection with Bordetella bronchiseptica. This disease is called kennel cough because it is most often transmitted between dogs living together in close quarters as in a kennel.

Pet owners may notice symptoms of this disease after their dog has been in close quarters with other dogs. Kennel situations could be a boarding facility; a pet hotel when owners are away on vacation and chose to leave their dogs; could be with a groomer; or at a dog show.

A common clinical sign is a deep, hacking cough that sounds like the dog has something caught in its throat. Some dogs may cough up a white, foamy discharge at the end of coughing fits. The cough can sound very serious; however, the infection usually clears up within one to two weeks. Vets should be able to easily identify kennel cough as the cause of the coughing just by clinical signs and history.

Antibiotics may be recommended to prevent secondary bacterial infections. Cough suppressants may help to stop the coughing as well. These treatments are usually not required though. Rarely does infectious tracheobronchitis develop into a serious bronchopneumonia which requires more aggressive treatment, according to vet professionals.

Some pet owners may want to alleviate kennel cough before it happens. In these cases, there are several kennel cough vaccines available to pet owners for their dogs. It is recommended by vets to vaccinate dogs before they go to a kennel, dog show or pet hotel, etc. Pet owners should be aware that a lot of veterinary hospitals, boarding facilities, grooming clinics, etc., require the vaccine prior to admittance. Pet owners should check with their vets on vaccination recommendations to keep their pets happy and healthy.