Kennel cough (Infectious Tracheobronchitis) is a widespread disease that affects the respiratory system of dogs. It is highly contagious and can be acquired through exposure to other dogs, such as at a pound, groomer or kennel. Dogs most at risk are puppies, older dogs, and toy breeds. However, any dog can be at risk.
Infected dogs do not show symptoms until 7 days after they have contracted the disease. The major symtoms that owners should look for is dry coughing that occurs randomly. Sometimes it may seem that the dog is trying to vomit or has something caught in its throat. The dog may also have watery eyes and/or nasal discharge. Severe infection can result in fever and loss of appetite. The coughing can last as long as 3-4 weeks so it is important for a veterinarian to examine the dog and prescribe antibiotics if necessary.
The organisms most commonly involved in kennel cough include Bordatella, canine parainfluenza, and canine adenovirus 1.
To help reduce the risk of contracting the disease, it is important to isolate any dogs that are suspected of carrying the disease. Also yearly and regular vaccines are recommended to help reduce the risk of contracting the disease. If your dog goes to the groomer, kennel, or park, regular vaccines are recommended. The vaccination used to reduce the risk of illness is known as the Bordetella or kennel cough vaccine.