Kennel Cough in Canines

Kennel cough is the slang name for infectious canine tracheobronchitis, which is a contagious respiratory infection that affects dogs. The term “kennel cough” has become popular thanks to the main symptom of the disease, a dry hacking couch, and because dogs often come down with the disease after returning from a kennel stay. Especially at risk are younger dogs and elderly animals, as well as pregnant dogs, as all have weakened immune systems and have lower resistance to infections. A Farmington vet tells you more about what causes the disease, its symptoms, and how to treat it below.


Several bacterium and viruses can cause tracheobronchitis in dogs. The most common is the parainfluenza virus, but other strains of bacteria and viruses are possible triggers—your Farmington vet will be able to tell you a probable cause.

Since the disease is so contagious, boarding kennels where lots of dogs come in contact are hotspots for contracting tracheobronchitis. If your dog is showing symptoms and he just returned from a kennel stay, it’s a good bet he picked it up there.


As the name suggests, a dry hacking cough is the most prevalent symptom. The cough may sound different than your dog’s normal vocalizations—sometimes it could sound like a honk or yelp.

Other symptoms include retching, nasal discharge, and—in severe instances—fever, lethargy, pneumonia, or even death. Ask your Farmington vet if any symptoms your dog is exhibiting could be caused by infectious canine tracheobronchitis.


Depending on the severity of infection and harshness of symptoms, treatments may vary. In mild cases with gentler symptoms, no treatment at all is sometimes the course of action—your dog will be left alone to allow his immune system to fight off the disease itself, just like we would endure the common cold. An anti-inflammatory drug might be administered to decrease the severity of coughs. In more urgent cases, antibiotics might be needed to prevent the growth of disease and stop pneumonia from developing.

Call your Farmington vet if your dog displays any of the above symptoms, especially if he’s recently been boarded at a kennel. If you can avoid boarding your dog at kennels, he will be at a decreased risk for contracting tracheobronchitis. If it’s impossible to avoid, though, awareness and preparedness will help your dog recover if he does come down with the infection.


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