What is it?
• Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory bacteria or viral infection.
• ITB may develop from a single agent or be a mixed infection.
• Symptoms include coughing, spasms, hacking, gagging, or coughing up secretions.
• Puppies and unvaccinated dogs are at the greatest risk of infection.
What causes it?
• The most common causes include canine parainfluenza virus, canine adenovirus 2, canine influenza virus, and certain bacteria like Bordetella bronchiseptica.
• As stated earlier, it is highly contagious and can be spread through the air with close contact or by direct contact with secretions from infected dogs.
• Dogs with kennel cough usually have a history or recent exposure, such as a newly acquired pet from the shelter or recent visit to a boarding facility or dog park.
What tests are needed?
• There is no specific test for kennel cough - it is diagnosed by exclusion.
• If pneumonia is suspected, a chest x-ray may be necessary.
• In more complicated cases, a tracheal wash or bronchoscopy may be needed.
• Blood cell count and biochemistry profile are often normal.
How is it treated?
• Mild cases will recover without medication since the disease is self-limiting and will run its course.
• Typical treatment includes cough-suppressing medication, unless pneumonia is present.
• More complicated cases of ITB require antibiotics for 7 - 10 days.
• Increasing environment humidity may help your dog breathe easier.
• A harness as opposed to a collar may prevent irritating the neck and decrease coughing.
What follow up care is needed?
• Keep infected dogs away from those who are unvaccinated.
• Disinfect your dogs items and common areas with bleach.