Canine infectious Tracheobronchitis, more commonly known as kennel cough, is a highly contagious multifactorial disease of the respiratory system which can affect dogs of all ages, and can be fatal in some cases, especially during autumn and the winter months. Outbreaks occur when dogs are in close contact with each other i.e. in boarding kennels, rescue centers, shows, dog-training classes or even just by being in the park.
Initially kennel cough is caused by a weakening of the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract, throat, trachea and the lower airways in the chest i.e. main bronchi. This weakening together with the bacteria that is found in these areas, which cause a secondary infection are responsible for the majority of symptoms.

 Symptoms can vary, but theses are the most common in the majority of cases:
    •    A Harsh dry cough - which may cause retching. Owners can sometimes think the dog has something stuck in the throat
    •    Tenderness of the throat and laryngeal sensitivity
    •    High Temperature
    •    Unable to properly exercise – Lethargic
    •    Difficulty in swallowing
    •    Strange breathing noises
    •    Occasional gastrointestinal disorders may appear (diarrhea, etc ...)
A cough can easily occur just by the dog exercising, over excitement or even when the dog is lying quietly in bed and can be really annoying for the dog and of course their owners.

The clinical diagnosis is carried out by a thorough routine check up, careful auscultation, laryngeal palpation, and if necessary in some cases chest X-rays and other tests.

Depending on the severity of the infection, kennel cough is treated with antibiotics, analgesics, antipyretics, and in the most severe cases cough suppressants and bronchodilators.
Also the owner must avoid subjecting the dog to strenuous exercise, bathing, cold temperatures. Sometimes it may be necessary to feed them for a few days with soft food.


Generally speaking if all necessary steps are taken, together with the proper administration of medication, the prognosis will be favorable. But in the case of improper or no treatment at all, complications can arise which can lead to bronchopneumonia, which will put your dogs life in danger. It is vital that you take your dog to the Vet straight away if they start showing signs.


On a final note, there are a number of preventive measures, which your Vet can carry out to reduce the chance of your dog contracting this common disease. You should also make sure that our dog is properly dried off after a bath or getting wet and we also recommend that he/she sleeps inside the house, at least during the winter or rainy days.
We also strongly advise, that if your are placing your dog in kennels, that you have him/her vaccinated beforehand, as this disease is easily spread between animals in an enclosed environment.