Kennel cough or tracheobronchitis
is a highly contagious canine illness characterized
by inflammation of the upper respiratory system.
It can be caused by viral infections such as canine
distemper, canine adenovirus, canine parainfluenza
virus, or canine respiratory coronavirus, or bacterial
infections such as Bordetella bronchiseptica. It
is so named because the infection can spread quickly
among dogs, such as in the close quarters of a kennel.
Both viral and bacterial causes of kennel cough
are spread through the air by infected dogs sneezing
and coughing. It can also spread through contact
with contaminated surfaces and through direct contact.
It is highly contagious. Exposure occurs in environments
where there are other dogs in proximity, such as
kennels, dog shows, and groomers. Symptoms begin
usually 3 to 5 days after exposure. The disease
can progress to pneumonia.
Symptoms can include a harsh, dry hacking/coughing,
retching, sneezing, snorting or gagging;in response
to light pressing of the trachea or after excitement
or exercise. The presence of a fever varies from
case to case. The disease can last from 10-20 days.
Diagnosis is made by seeing these symptoms and having
a history of exposure.
Treatment and prevention
Antibiotics are given to treat any bacterial infection
present. Cough suppressants are used if the cough
is not productive (nothing is being coughed up).
The prognosis is good. Prevention is by vaccinating
for canine adenovirus, distemper, parainfluenza,
and Bordetella. In kennels, the best prevention
is to keep all the cages disinfected. Most kennels
will not board dogs without proof of vaccination.