Kennel Cough is a highly infectious bronchitis of dogs characterized by a harsh, hacking non-productive cough that sounds like something stuck in the throat.
Most cases are self-limiting and last 7-9 days with only mild lethargy with pets acting like themselves. In these uncomplicated cases, the most distressing thing is usually the harshness and frequency of the coughing.
While many dogs are vaccinated for kennel cough with vaccines against bordetella, the “bordetella complex” often includes more than just the bacteria bordetella. Numerous organisms may be involved in a case of kennel cough; it would be unusual for only one agent to be Infections with the following organisms frequently occur concurrently to create a case of kennel cough:
- Bordetella bronchiseptica (bacteria)
- Parainfluenza virus
- Adenovirus type 2
- Canine herpesvirus (very young puppies)
- Mycoplasma canis (a single-cell organism that is neither virus nor bacterium)
- Canine reovirus
- Canine respiratory coronavirus
If there is a very varied mixture, the Bordetella complex can become more complicated and in rare instances be more virulent and progress to pneumonia. While highly contagious, the majority of kennel cough cases are uncomplicated and can be treated with an antibiotic that works against bordetella as well as other bacteria or bacteria-like organisms such as mycoplasma. The rest of treatment is comprised of a good anti-tussive.
Infected animals are considered contagious until approximately 14 days AFTER the resolution of symptoms.