Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough)

Most people have heard the term Kennel Cough. This is the common name for a highly contagious respiratory infection seen in dogs. It is also often called Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis as it involves inflammation of the trachea (the major airway) and the bronchi (the larger airways in the lungs). Sometimes it also involves inflammation of the larynx and nose.

As winter arrives our dogs may be spending more time indoors. If they are in close contact with other dogs for example at a kennel, a pet sitter’s home or a doggy day care or training centre they may be at risk of contracting kennel cough this winter. Other ways that dogs may get Kennel Cough include contact with contaminated surfaces like water bowls, food bowls and toys. Dogs socialising with other dogs on walks can also potentially contract Kennel Cough.

Signs of Kennel Cough

The typical signs of Kennel Cough include:

1. A dry hacking cough- this is the classical sign and often the only one present. The cough often gets worse when the dog exercises or is excited

2. Retching or gagging following coughing

3. Sneezing and a runny nose (clear discharge)

4. Some loss of appetite

5. A mild fever is possible

The cough is usually the worst for the first 5 days, but the disease can persist on average 10-20 days. In some dogs, especially puppies and those with weakened immune systems the disease may progress to also involve the lung tissue causing a pneumonia. Signs may then also include a moderate to severe fever, pus containing discharges from the nose, depression, loss of appetite and difficulties breathing.

How to protect against Kennel Cough

Vaccines are available to help protect against Distemper, Parainfluenza, Canine Adenovirus-2, and Bordetella bronchiseptica, some of the main organisms responsible for Kennel Cough. These are all included in your dog’s yearly C5 vaccination. For puppies a course of vaccinations starting at 6-8 weeks of age help provide protection. These vaccination appointments also allow your veterinarian a great chance to perform a full health check on your dog to ensure their health and therefore immune system, is in the best shape possible.

How to treat Kennel Cough

Even with vaccination, much like the human flu we cannot prevent all cases of Kennel Cough. However, if you think your dog has contracted Kennel Cough do not be alarmed. Your veterinarian can usually presumptively diagnose Kennel Cough by a simple exam of your pet. Sometimes, chest radiographs may be advised to assess the severity of the disease or rule out other causes of coughing. Blood work may be indicated in patients who show more severe signs like loss of appetite, a fever or altered breathing. For dogs with coughs persisting longer than 3-4 weeks kennel cough alone is less likely and the underlying cause may need to be investigated.

If your dog has simple kennel cough, then supportive treatment only is usually required. The dog’s recovery may be hastened by good nutrition and hygiene as recommended by your veterinarian. Cough suppressants are sometimes prescribed to control persistent non-productive coughing. Antibiotics are sometimes required especially with signs of bacterial infection like pus in nasal discharges. Cortico-steroids may be prescribed to help alleviate signs. Aerosolization treatments (of saline or antibiotics) may also be helpful in some cases. In most cases hospitalisation is not required except with very unwell patients.

If you are concerned your dog may have contracted kennel cough, are uncertain as to the cause of their cough or wish to speak to us about vaccination please feel free to call us at the clinic on 83730301.


What is Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis?

Tracheobronchitis is commonly known as Kennel cough or canine cough. It is a highly infectious respiratory infection seen in dogs.

What are the signs of kennel cough?

A dry, hacking cough, retching or gagging, sneezing, loss of appetite and a mild fever.

How long does Kennel cough last?

The cough is usually the worst for the first 5 days, but the disease can persist on average 10-20 days.

How do you treat kennel cough?

If your dog has simple kennel cough, then supportive treatment only is usually required. The dog’s recovery may be hastened by good nutrition and hygiene as recommended by your veterinarian.

Share This :

Get in touch

Our team are ready to take your call. 

Lynbrook Vet IconLynbrook Vet

14A/10-30 Northey Road, Lynbrook

4.9 508 reviews

  • Avatar Sahitha Dissanayaka ★★★★★ in the last week
    I cannot recommend this vet clinic enough! I recently took my cat in for castration surgery and the whole experience was fantastic. The staff was incredibly caring and attentive, and they kept me updated with cute messages throughout each … More step of the process. I felt well-informed and confident that my cat was in good hands. I am so grateful for the excellent care they provided and will definitely be returning for any future pet needs. Thank you for everything!
  • Avatar Jadee Knapp-harvie ★★★★★ in the last week
    Love love love this vet!!Updates all day and photos
  • Avatar Vivek Fernandez ★★★★★ a week ago
  • Avatar Lynne West ★★★★★ a week ago
    We are very grateful to the team at Lynbrook Vet for the care and dedication in looking after our beautiful girl, Gemma. We so appreciate your courtesy and professionalism.Lynne and Ray Kidd.
  • Avatar Neon Paints ★★★★★ a week ago
    We have been using Lynbrook Vet since they opened their doors, they have grown significantly since then, but we still receive the same amazing service from the team. We are always confident that we will get the information & care needed … More for our fur kids without pushing unnecessary extras, could not be happier with the level of care from the team.Everyone from the vets, nurses & reception team have been amazing, I have no hesitation in recommending this practice to anyone looking for a vet that they can feel confident with.
  • Avatar Lucinda Quick ★★★★★ 3 weeks ago
    great staff and service

You're in good hands

Lynbrook Veterinary Services Primary Care Practice

Lynbrook Vet is a close-knit team of Veterinary professionals dedicated to practising veterinary science in a compassionate, trustworthy, respectful and professional manner.  We care deeply not just for our patients and clients, but for one another as well.

Genuine Care
& Experience

Customised Treatment

Customised Treatment


Ready to book your appointment?

Please fill out the enquiry form below and we will get in touch with you soon. If your enquiry is urgent please call us on 8373 0301.

Contact Us

Contact Your Local Vet

Working Hours

Follow Us On Social Media

Search our site