What is Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is an upper respiratory infection affecting dogs. Multiple agents make up the virus, the most common being the bacteria called Bordetella, followed by canine Parainfluenza, and canine Coronavirus. Kennel cough is contagious; however, adult dogs may display immunity to reinfection even under constant exposure. Kennel cough got the name because the infection can spread quickly among dogs in the kennels and boarding facilities.

Viral and bacterial causes of kennel cough are airborne produced by sneezing and coughing. Kennel cough can also be spread through contact with contaminated surfaces. Symptoms begin after several days of incubation period post-exposure, and in most cases will clear up on their own. The infectious period of kennel cough is 3–10 days. Symptoms for kennel cough can include a harsh dry cough, retching, sneezing, gagging when excited or exercise is increased. Sometimes, a fever can also be shown.

It has been proven that the mild case of kennel cough is most seen in the fall. The virus sheds for roughly one week after your dog is feeling better, but can stay in the area for several weeks to months. Treatment for your dog if they are showing signs of kennel cough could be antibiotics, anti-inflammatory if fever is present. We can help protect your dog from getting kennel cough by vaccinating with the kennel cough vaccine.

Written by Christine Attridge-Hardy, Practice Manager