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Kennel Cough in Dogs



Depending on the severity of the infection and the severity of the symptoms, there are two main types of treatments that can be given for canine tracheobronchitis disease. In the most common and uncomplicated type of disease, there is generally no need for antibiotics.


If your dog is alert, but has only minor symptoms along with the recurrent cough, then it is often left alone to go through the course of the disease, just like the common cold in humans. Most of the time an anti-inflammatory agent will be given to your dog in order to reduce the severity and frequency of coughing episodes and to make the dog more comfortable. Antibiotics will be used if your dog is not eating, is running a fever, and is showing signs of severe respiratory troubles, as this may indicate pneumonia.


While your dog is recovering from the infection, allow it to breath without anything that might irritate or constrict its throat – such as collars or scarves/bandannas. For walks and outings, you can substitute the collar with a body harness.


Living and Management


In order to prevent this disease, it is recommended that you not expose your dog to kennel like or boarding conditions, where large populations of dogs are contained and mixed together. However, if you cannot avoid this, then a proper vaccination would be the best option. Talk to your veterinarian about what is available for your dog, since there are certain vaccines that can have worrisome side effects. Therefore, vaccines to prevent tracheobronchitis are generally only given to dogs that are at high risk.


Even with precautions, a large number of dogs acquire this respiratory infection. It is best to be observant and prepared.


Although this infection usually does not cross over to humans, there are instances where young children and adults with compromised immune systems are at risk for infection. In these cases, care must be taken to protect those at risk from coming into contact with the sick dog until it has fully recovered. If contact cannot be avoided, extra care will need to be taken with hygiene.


Comments  4

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  • Bordetella article
    02/13/2012 09:01am

    I own a boarding facility and continually educate myself on any infectious disease or bacteria that could possibly infect a owner's pet. However, I am always disappointed how these articles immediately blame a boarding environment. I realize there is more of an incidence in a boarding situation; however, many of us have taken steps to ensure that upper respiratory does not break out in our facilities (eletrostatic filters, air conditioners that exchange the air frequently, cleanliness, proper sanitation procedures, etc). In Florida, where bordetella is prevelant, we have seen many cases of dogs getting it at the dog park and also from staying at a vet clinic around other infected animals. I would urge you to stop "blaming" only boarding facilities for the cause of this virus as we all know a dog can get it in it's own back yard or even at the veterinarian's office by being exposed to an infected pet.

  • 05/09/2014 12:25pm

    My neighbor just adopted 2 dogs from the animal shelter, both of which were diagnosed with kennel cough, and being treated by our local vet. Was just wondering since we are neighbors, our yards are separated by a chain link fence, her little dogs can put their faces through to touch my big dog. My dog is always current on her vaccines ... but still curious if my dog can get this by touching noses with the neighbors?

  • 05/09/2014 03:49pm

    The short answer is yes, your dog can still get it. Just like the flu in humans, there are many different strains of bordetella virus (a/k/a kennel cough) and the vaccine does not cover all strains. That being said, most dogs that have a good immune system and are properly vaccinated should not get the virus. On another note, some dogs are carriers of the virus but are asymptomatic, meaning they show no symptoms but can still spread the virus.

  • 05/09/2014 10:28pm

    Thank you ... Our Akita is very healthy, had her out running today, no signs nor symptoms ... will keep a close eye on her. Any idea what the incubation period is? Rascal, and Charlie (neighbors dogs) are finished with their meds today, not over the cough yet ... and have a follow up appointment on Monday with our local vet.

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