What Is Kennel Cough?

Kennel Cough is a common ailment that affects pets, primarily dogs and cats, just as similar upper respiratory infections afflict humans. The scientific name for the most common form of the ailment is infectious tracheobronchitis. Forms of what is commonly known as Kennel Cough also go by the names Bordetellosis, or Bordetella. This disease is highly infectious, especially in dogs. Infected animals will shed the virus for 6 to 14 weeks after the infection symptoms have been resolved. The majority cases of kennel Cough are caused by more than one infectious agent, usually a combination of viral and bacterial infections.

Kennel Cough symptoms include fever, nasal discharge, and a dry, hacking cough that sounds like something may be caught in the throat – often described as a “hacking” sound. Although Kennel Cough itself is not a serious disease, it is often distressing to see your pet suffer from this infection. In some cases, the ailment can lead to a more serious condition – pneumonia. In mild cases, your pet may remain alert and active, but in more severe cases, symptoms may include lethargy, fever, and loss of appetite. Severe cases of Kennel Cough usually occur in immuno-compromised or young animals.

Kennel Cough gets its name from the tendency to spread extensively in kennels where pets are boarded. It can also be readily contracted at shows, parks, or anywhere where there is a gathering of dogs or cats in close space. Kennel Cough generally strikes when a pet is recovering from a viral or respiratory illness. Though usually a secondary invader, it can also be a primary cause of illness. The cough can last up to 6 weeks if left untreated.

Conventional treatments include antibiotics, bronchodilators, and cough suppressants.

Vaccines are offered for Kennel Cough, but these preventative treatments rarely provide protection against contracting the disease. Additionally, the vaccine itself carries with it a risk of contraction of the disease.

Kennel Cough Imitators 

It is difficult to distinguish Kennel Cough from the Canine Flu. The Flu is primarily viral in nature, while Kennel Cough usually includes a complicating bacterial infection. Canine Flu often mimics the symptoms of Kennel Cough. The key difference in the case of the Flu is excessive upper respiratory congestion.