Definition of Kennel Cough
Kennel cough, also called infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious, acute upper-respiratory tract disorder involving inflammation of the throat, windpipe and airways. It got its name because it spreads rapidly through boarding kennels, puppy mills, pet shops and other places where dogs congregate in close quarters. Kennel cough can be caused by several things, including Bordetella bronchiseptica, canine parainfluenza virus, adenovirus types 1 and 2, herpesvirus, distemper virus and mycoplasma. Secondary bacterial infections are fairly common and can be quite serious. Dogs usually develop signs of kennel cough within a week of being exposed to an infected dog. The hallmark of this condition is sudden onset of a dry, hacking, unproductive cough that sounds like the dog has something stuck in its throat. The gagging and coughing fits worsen with exercise and often are accompanied by upchucking of a pale, frothy liquid. Otherwise, most dogs are bright and alert.