Kennel cough is one of the most common and most infectious diseases in dogs. Not usually a serious condition that often resolves itself within a couple of weeks, kennel cough is known in medical circles as tracheobronchitis. Kennel cough therefore is a kind of bronchitis that affects the trachea.
The causes of kennel cough are either bacterial or viral. Most cases of the disease are caused by the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacterium which has also been implicated in canine distemper virus and canine parainfluenza. The reason the disease is known as kennel disease is the fact that in order to contract the illness, dogs must spend a lot of time around other dogs and must be bombarded by pathogens.
The main symptom of kennel cough is a dry, fitful cough that is caused by inflammation of the trachea and bronchi. Sometimes, kennel coughing fits are accompanied by a white, foamy discharge and even conjunctivitis, the inflammation of the eyelid. Moreover, some kind of nasal discharge may also occur mimicking the symptoms of a cold of flu. Because kennel cough is rarely a serious condition that almost never results in death, treatment may not be necessary but you should still take your dog to the vet.
After taking a thorough medical history and conducting a physical examination, your vet will be able to diagnose kennel cough. Kennel cough has a very distinct sound and is therefore usually easy to diagnose. Some dogs may also have a fever or other symptoms of more serious infection indicating the need for further diagnostic tests.
Most pet owners should look into immunizing their dog to prevent kennel cough; especially if you expect that your dog will be staying in a kennel. Still, effective immunization can be difficult as there are various pathogens that can cause the disease.