Kennel Cough in Dogs

Kennel Cough in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Most common symptoms

Anemia / Coughing / Fever / Gagging / Lethargy / Nasal Discharge

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Rated as mild conditon

9 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Anemia / Coughing / Fever / Gagging / Lethargy / Nasal Discharge

Kennel Cough in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough, also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis, is a general term used to describe a viral and/or bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the throat as well as other upper respiratory symptoms. The condition will often resolve on its own, however, it is uncomfortable for your canine pal and highly contagious. Kennel cough can be more severe and lead to pneumonia or death in young puppies, geriatric animals, and immunocompromised animals. Kennel cough is an inflammation of a dog's voice box and windpipe and is used to describe the viral and bacterial infections that occur. Canine infectious tracheobronchitis can be compared to a chest cold in humans, frequently clearing up on its own. Kennel cough in puppies and dogs is highly contagious and can develop into more severe symptoms such as fever and nasal discharge. If you believe your dog has kennel cough, isolate them from any other dogs and contact a veterinarian. How long does kennel cough last? Your veterinary team can answer this question and others you may have and will ensure that your furry buddy is quickly on the way to recovery.

Kennel Cough Average Cost

From 45 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,000

Average Cost

$650

Symptoms of Kennel Cough in Dogs

Symptoms of tracheobronchitis can begin anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure. 

Symptoms of mild tracheobronchitis include:
  • Characteristic persistent dry “honking” cough
  • Otherwise healthy (good energy level, normal appetite)
  • Possible nasal discharge
  • Gagging
  • Coughing up white foam
  • Symptoms worsen with exercise or pulling at the collar
Symptoms of severe tracheobronchitis include:
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Labored breathing
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Causes of Kennel Cough in Dogs

Various agents work alone or together to cause tracheobronchitis. The two most common causative agents are parainfluenza and bordetella in dogs:

  • Parainfluenza virus

    - Most common viral cause of tracheobronchitis. When acting alone, symptoms may last less than six days. When paired with the Bordetella bacterium, symptoms can last up to 3 weeks. A vaccine is available and often included in the Bordetella vaccine preparation. Vaccines do not prevent infection entirely but can decrease risk and symptoms.

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica

    – Most common bacterial cause of tracheobronchitis. When acting alone, symptoms may last up to ten days. When paired with the parainfluenza virus, symptoms can last up to 3 weeks. A vaccine is available and often combined with the parainfluenza virus vaccine. Vaccines do not prevent infection entirely but can decrease risk and symptoms.

How long is kennel cough contagious? The Bordetella bacterium can be shed from an infected animal up to 14 weeks after symptoms have resolved. 

How is kennel cough spread? Virus and bacteria can spread through inhalation, direct contact with other animals, or contact with contaminated objects. 

Common locations for contracting kennel cough:

  • Kennels
  • Boarding facilities
  • Dog daycares
  • Animal shelters
  • Dog spas
  • Dog parks (water dishes)
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Diagnosis of Kennel Cough in Dogs

If your pet is showing signs of kennel cough and has recently been in contact with other dogs, make an appointment with the veterinarian for a physical examination. Being vaccinated for kennel cough does not ensure protection. The veterinarian will take a history of your four-legged companion and want to know whether they have had any recent contact with other dogs, how long they have been demonstrating symptoms, and symptom severity. This information will help to determine the kennel cough incubation period. A physical examination will involve listening to the lungs and evaluating the coughing. Any fever or nasal discharge will be noted.

Diagnosis is based on the presence of symptoms and history of exposure to other dogs. Various diagnostics are available to determine the causative agent of the tracheobronchitis including bacterial culture and viral isolation. These tests are not usually conducted unless requested since kennel cough symptoms are indicative of the condition.

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Treatment of Kennel Cough in Dogs

If your pet is diagnosed with kennel cough, treatment will depend on the severity of the condition.

Mild Tracheobronchitis

In mild cases, an oral cough suppressant will be prescribed to make your pup more comfortable. Use of a humidifier at home or placing your dog in a shower-steamed bathroom a few times daily can help provide relief. A bronchodilator may be used to expand the airways for easier breathing. An antibiotic may or may not be prescribed, depending on the history and severity of symptoms.

You may want to use a harness rather than a collar while your pet is exhibiting symptoms, as a collar can irritate the throat and lead to increased coughing. Improvement is typically seen within 5-7 days of starting treatment. No follow up appointment is needed for mild cases unless symptoms continue or worsen.

Severe Tracheobronchitis

In more severe cases, antibiotics for kennel cough, bronchodilators, and aerosol therapy will be prescribed.

Severe cases may require a weekly recheck appointment until your dog is considered stable. Report any continued or worsening symptoms to the veterinarian as tracheobronchitis can lead to life-threatening pneumonia.

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Recovery of Kennel Cough in Dogs

Tracheobronchitis symptoms will normally resolve after 3 weeks. Geriatric pets, young puppies and immunocompromised pets may take up to 6 weeks to recover. The infection is contagious for up to 14 weeks after symptoms are gone, so it is important to keep minimal contact between your pet and other dogs. If your puppy has a cough, you will have to hold off on the typical socialization activities until your vet gives the okay to resume training and doggy playdates. An older dog will not be able to attend doggy daycare or visit the park until the all clear is given by the veterinary team.

Annual vaccination can help prevent or lessen symptoms if an animal comes in contact with a causative agent of kennel cough. Vaccines do not totally prevent infection. It is preferable to allow 7 days after vaccination to come in contact with other dogs, although 4 days may provide some protection.

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Kennel Cough Average Cost

From 45 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,000

Average Cost

$650

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Kennel Cough Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Bam-bam

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Boston Terrier

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12 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Fatigue
Hacking Cough
Trouble Breathing
Wheezing Or Maybe Sneezing

Hello, So I wanted to ask a question concerning my Boston terrier. His name is Bam-bam and he is about 12 years old. He has a history of seizures that occur at least once every four years. Recently he has been coughing. Well it's​ more like a hacking-wheezeing, drawn out type of cough. I'm worried because it will happen when he gets over excited, or sometimes out of the clear blue. He has difficulty breathing during and after his coughing fits. He has also been sleeping....a lot. The vet we took him to told us that this happens with older dogs. That they just sorta begin to develop a cough due to age, but I don't think that is the case and am really worried about my pup. Please help.

July 26, 2017

Bam-bam's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Boston Terriers like other similar breeds are prone to developing coughs as they age due to their anatomy; however other conditions like heart failure, pneumonia and other conditions may cause a cough to develop. Since Bam-Bam’s cough comes on at times of over excitement, this would generally be consistent with an age related cough as other causes usually have a persistent cough which get exasperated by activity or excitement. Without examining Bam-Bam and listening to his lungs, I cannot say or determine another cause; it may be best for you to take him to another Veterinarian for an examination for a second opinion. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

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Blaze

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Morky

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9 Weeks

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing And Gagging

Hello, My dog Blaze has a cough and has been coughing for 2 days. He is eating and drinking and playing normal, but he has a cough. While playing if he has to cough he stops what he is doing and then coughs, it sounds like he has something in his throat but it's not that because after we give him water and he eats it still happens. Is there anything I can do at home to help treat this. His is only 9 weeks old and is a Morky. Should I go to a vet and how much would a vet cost me?

July 26, 2017

Blaze's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

In young puppies, especially in small breeds like Morkies, it is best to visit your Veterinarian as the cause may be infectious, physical (like chemical irritation) or congenital (like collapsing trachea). If the cough is more of a goose honk, it may be a collapsed trachea or narrowing airway. Blaze should be visiting his Veterinarian for vaccinations until the age of 16 weeks so you can bring it up then. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVMwww.vetary.com/dog/condition/tracheal-collapse

July 26, 2017

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Harlee

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Chihuahua

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5 Months

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing

I got my dog from a breeder is Missouri 10 days ago she arrived by ground transportation, yesterday while she was chewing on her puppy bone she began coughing and i figured something was stuck in her throat but now today she is still doing it and has low energy and I'm getting worried. We have a free vet here in Boston but I would have to figure out how to get her there. I am just wondering if I should give her a few days to start feeling better or take her in based off the fact she is lethargic and coughing? Please help!! she is utd on all shots and is just getting over round worms as well

July 26, 2017

Harlee's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

There are a few reasons why a puppy may be coughing; these include infections, aspiration pneumonia (inhalation of food or vomit), allergies or other respiratory disease. Puppies which have some from a breeder, kennel or have been transported with other animals are prone to getting airborne respiratory infections. Some coughs may resolve themselves within five or seven days, other coughs (especially in young puppies, older or immunocompromised dogs). Signs of Kennel Cough are dry cough which may be followed by retching; complications may arise from secondary infections which may produce additional clinical symptoms including lethargy, loss of appetite and may include symptoms of nasal discharge. You could wait a day to see if the symptoms subside, but if in doubt or the severity increases I would recommend visiting your Veterinarian, however speak with the Receptionist before you arrive as they may have a procedure for dealing with suspected infectious pets. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

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Daisy

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6 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

Hi so my puppy started vomiting with diarrhea 2 days ago, I fed her chicken and rice and got the vomiting to stop and she is eating again.. but now she is coughing she tends to eat a lot of grass and I try not to let her I do keep an eye on her but do you think it could be kennel cough?

July 26, 2017

Daisy's Owner


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3320 Recommendations

Gastric upset (most dogs will have an episode before one year of age) can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, grass eating and coughing. It is believed that dogs will eat grass to help calm their stomach (or fulfil a nutritional deficit) and isn’t harmful unless the grass has been treated with herbicides etc... The cough can be due to gagging where something comes up and irritates the throat causing the cough. Kennel cough presents as a persistent cough, thin watery nasal discharge, retching, progressing to fever, lethargy and loss of appetite. I would ensure that she remains hydrated, continues eating and keep an eye on her; if she doesn’t improve after a few days, visit your Veterinarian for a physical examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

Hello my name is Shonna and I have a 2 year old Pit Bull I have had her since the day she was born because I bred her mother and daddy she has been coughing and sounding like she's choking for the past 2 weeks or so, she has never been a really been a big eater so shes still eating like she usually does but she is throwing up a white foam and last night she threw up all of her food does this sound like severe kennel cough or mild?

July 26, 2017

Shonna L.

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Buddie

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American Pit Bull Terrier

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2 Months

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing
Nasal Discharge

I was reading online and he has symptoms of kennel cough. Not sure what I can do I have lil money

July 26, 2017

Buddie's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

There are a few different causes of severe cough in dogs: kennel cough (infectious tracheobronchitis), another bacterial disease, parasitic disease, viral infection or other causes like foreign body or a tumour. I understand that you have money issues, but a visit to your Veterinarian is required; also speak with your Veterinarian regarding vaccinations as Buddie is at the age when you should start vaccinating. Vaccinations can seem expensive, but workout to be the fraction of the cost of long-term treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

Kennel Cough Average Cost

From 45 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,000

Average Cost

$650

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