Kennel Cough

Kennel cough – infectious tracheobronchitis:


If your pet is exhibiting signs consistent with kennel cough, it is very similar to the common cold in humans, and can include a dry non-productive cough (often with a terminal retch), inappetance, sneezing, runny nose and runny eyes. Kennel cough can be caused the bacteria Bordetella, as well as many different viruses, including influenza and pneumovirus. Fortunately, most adult dogs with mature immune systems only experience self limiting signs that resolve with basic supportive care.


In order to help nurse your pet back to health please consider the following:

  1. Adding water or low sodium chicken broth to their food to encourage good hydration
  2. Feeding smaller more frequent meals to avoid upsetting the stomach (you may need to offer higher reward foods such as boiled chicken, low fat cottage cheese, or boiled low fat ground beef if his/her appetite is poor)
  3. Steam therapy either through nebulization with saline 2-3 times per day or by allowing your pet to stay in the bathroom with the shower running hot water
  4. Tailoring back the activities to short  leash walks while avoiding neck leads and strenuous activity
  5. Administering L-Lysine twice per day to reduce viral replication.


Most dogs show symptoms anywhere from a couple of days to three weeks, but the cough should always be dry and will diminish over time. Please avoid contact with other dogs for a minimum of 5 days after the cough has subsided.


Finally, some dogs will experience more serious symptoms and can require hospitalization and other treatments, such as IV fluids and antibiotics. If you notice the following signs please call or bring your pet in for re-evaluation:

  1. Loss of appetite for > 24 hours, especially when refusing high reward foods
  2. Rapid breathing, especially if it is persistent and/or labored
  3. Severe lethargy
  4. Signs of fever – feeling warm to the touch and/or achy and lethargic.
  5. Large amount of mucus or pus-like discharge from the nose or eyes.


Please call if you have any questions or concerns and thank you for your patronage.