Causes of Kennel Cough
Kennel cough can be caused by one or a combination of several different bacterial, viral or mycoplasmal agents. In most cases, the condition occurs when a dog becomes infected with the canine parainfluenza virus and/or the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria. Canine adenovirus types CAV-I and CAV-2, along with canine herpesvirus, canine distemper virus and mycoplasma, can also cause kennel cough. Secondary bacterial infections, including bronchopneumonia, can occur when a dog becomes infected with another respiratory pathogen. These secondary infections can be quite serious.
Preventing Kennel Cough
The clinical manifestations of kennel cough typically show up within a week or so of exposure to infected animals. Prevention is best accomplished by keeping healthy dogs away from dogs that are or may be infected. The most common at-risk areas are boarding kennels, animal shelters, commercial pet shops, research facilities, grooming facilities, dog shows, agility trials, field trials, dog parks, dog groomers, veterinary clinics and similar close-contact environments. Several vaccines are commercially available for canine kennel cough, some of which are part of broader, combination canine vaccines. The intranasal Bordetella vaccine is highly recommended for at risk dogs; it should be given twice yearly to ensure its effectiveness. An intramuscular Bordetella vaccine is also available, as are vaccines for canine parainfluenza virus and adenovirus types CAV-1 and CAV-2.
It is possible for immunocompromised people to become infected by Bordetella bronchiseptica, although this is uncommon.