Dog Kennel Cough

Has your canine companion been experiencing a dry hacking cough or sneezing? Have you noticed nasal discharge on his or her snout? If the answer to either of these is “yes,” you will want to bring your pup in for a checkup with one of our vets, for these symptoms are all clinical signs of Kennel Cough. Kennel Cough, also known as infectious tracheobronchitis or Bordetella, is a highly contagious respiratory disease which causes inflammation to occur in the trachea and bronchi. The condition can be triggered by a multitude of disease-causing organisms. However, the most common culprits are the presence of bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica and two viruses known as Parainfluenza and Canine Adenovirus.

Kennel Cough is a highly contagious disease. Any dog, regardless of breed or age, is susceptible. The disease spreads the same way as that of the common cold spreads in humans, both virally and bacterially. A dog can become infected merely by sniffing an infected dog or walking around at the dog park. The organisms associated with Kennel Cough are often spread through the air with coughing or sneezing, through direct contact such as kissing or licking, and via contact with contaminated surfaces, such as which may occur if you pet a dog after your hands have been exposed to the virus.

A healthy dog’s respiratory tract can become compromised by simply being in close proximity to an infected dog. Dog parks and boarding kennels are both environments where your dog may come in contact with the infectious disease.

Sudden dry hacking coughs, sneezing, retching, and gagging are all common symptoms of Kennel Cough. In some cases, a nasal discharge may be present and a fever can occur.

These clinical signs are noticeable 2 to 14 days after your pup has been exposed to the virus. If the condition worsens, dogs can demonstrate signs of depression, a loss of appetite, and, in worst-case scenarios, death.


Once you have brought your pet into our hospital, one of our vets can properly observe one or more of the clinical symptoms as well as acquire a history of environments that your dog may have been exposed to.

Cough suppressants, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory drugs are often used to treat the disease, depending on if the Kennel Cough was spread bacterially or virally. However, due to the resiliency of the organisms, the response to the treatment is not always guaranteed, and often times unpredictable. For the most part, the best treatment for this disease is making sure your dog feels comfortable, and gets proper rest and care.

Preventing Kennel Cough

Vaccination is the best preventative measure to reduce the chance of your canine to acquire Kennel Cough. As part of World Of Animals policy, all dogs must be vaccinated for Kennel Cough before being administered into our Bethayres Boarding Kennel. All Boarding Kennels in the United States, for the most part, require this vaccination. If you come across a kennel that does not, you should definitely avoid letting your pup stay there. Our vets will inform you of further information about the vaccination process for this disease.