Kennel Cough

Canine infectious tracheobronchitis (ITB), also known as kennel cough, results from infection of the respiratory tract with one or more viruses and bacteria. It is highly contagious.
Direct contact with infected secretions is the most common way that ITB spreads from dog to dog. Clinical disease often follows exposure to other infected dogs at kennels, dog parks, and dog shows.
Clinical Signs
The most common sign is coughing that often comes in spasms. The cough may be dry and hacking ("goose honk") or productive (gagging or coughing up secretions). These signs are sometimes mistaken for something caught in the dog's throat. Coughing episodes may be triggered by excitement, activity, or pressure on the neck (such as pulling against a collar).
Pneumonia and other generalized signs (nasal discharge, fever, decreased appetite, respiratory difficulty) may occur with complicated or serious infections. Unvaccinated and young or elderly dogs are most susceptible to complicated ITB. Secondary bacterial infections may also lead to bronchopneumonia.
Diagnostic Tests
Classic clinical signs and a history of recent exposure to other dogs are suggestive of ITB. Routine laboratory tests, such as a complete blood cell count and biochemistry profile, are often normal unless pneumonia or other complications are present. Chest x-rays may be recommended if pneumonia is suspected.
Follow-up Care
It is important to prevent the spread of this disease to other dogs by taking the following steps:
--Isolate dogs with ITB from other dogs until all clinical signs have resolved.
--Most of the infectious agents that cause ITB are inactivated by bleach. Disinfect all items (cages, bowls, brushes) that have come in contact with the infected dog with a solution of bleach diluted (1:32) in water.
Vaccines are available for B. bronchiseptica, parainfluenza virus, and adenovirus 2. Puppies are initially given two or three vaccinations 2-3 weeks apart. The vaccines are repeated at 1 year of age. Bordetella vaccines may be required more often for dogs that are frequently kenneled. Vaccines do not prevent all infections, but they usually decrease the severity of disease.

For most dogs, prognosis is very good. For dogs with pneumonia, prognosis depends on the severity of the pneumonia and any other complicating conditions.