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Kennel Cough

The facts

  • Kennel cough (infectious tracheobronchitis) is a contagious, upper-respiratory disease.
  • It is transmitted by an airborne virus and often complicated by secondary bacterial infection.
  • Kennel cough occurs more commonly in puppies and young adult dogs.
    It is often caught at kennels or shelters where dogs are exposed to many other dogs.
  • Because the virus is airborne, normal cleaning and disinfecting of kennel surfaces cannot eliminate it.


Dogs with kennel cough are usually bright and alert and usually eat well; however, they have a dry, hacking cough or bouts of deep, harsh coughing often followed by gagging motions. The gagging sometimes produces foamy mucus. Most dogs with kennel cough do not have a fever.


  • If your dog has these symptoms, consult your veterinarian for treatment. Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent or cure a secondary infection.
  • Keep dogs in a relatively warm environment and make sure they are rested to help prevent the development of pneumonia.
  • Prevent the spread of this disease by keeping your dog away from other dogs.

Important to know

Not every cough is “kennel cough.” Some dogs bark almost continuously while sheltered, which can lead to a sore throat or many other upper-respiratory diseases.

If your dog has a fever, is less active than normal, has a decreased appetite, has discharge from the eyes or nose, has difficulty breathing, or is older than three years, a more serious problem may be present.

Updated On
August 25, 2016
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