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Kennel cough is a highly contagious infection and as the name suggests, is typically transmitted in closed or crowded spaces. Moreover, these areas may include kennels, shelters and play parks. This infection is caused by either bacteria or virus particles which are inhaled into the respiratory tract, causing inflammation of the windpipe (trachea). Let’s take a closer look at the symptoms, treatment and possible prevention of this infection. 

Symptoms of kennel cough

The most prominent symptom is a hacking cough, which is often compared to a “goose-honking” noise. 

Additional symptoms may include:

  • Sneezing
  • Watery nose
  • Eye discharge

With this being said, the symptoms of kennel cough do mimic other more serious diseases. These may include tracheal collapse, canine chronic bronchitis and heart disease. For this reason, any persistent and prolonged coughing needs to be evaluated by a veterinarian in order to exclude a more serious condition.

Treatment for kennel cough

The treatment for kennel cough is symptomatic and younger dogs may recover from the infection without needing treatment. Veterinarian’s may however prescribe antibiotics for secondary infection as well as cough medications to ease severe coughing. 

With this being said, pet parents can assist in the recovery of this infection. Examples include adding humidifiers in the fur kids home or utilizing a harness during walks or runs. 


Vaccinations against certain strains of kennel cough are available, however, they do not guarantee prevention against all strains. Consulting with your veterinarian is key in determining whether a vaccination is the right preventative treatment for your pet.

Kennel cough which persists may lead to Pneumonia which is a serious condition affecting the lungs. Additionally, a lack in appetite, loss of weight, restlessness or rapid breathing, all accompanied with coughing, requires prompt veterinary evaluation. 

The typical recovery period of this infection is anything from 3 – 6 weeks. Your dog should be kept away from other dogs to prevent transmission of the disease during this time.

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