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My dog is coughing – could it be Kennel Cough?

6 December 2011

Coughing is something that we quite commonly encounter in our canine patients, but it can be very worrying for owners.  If your dog is coughing, it is important that you take him or her to your vet for an examination.  There is a long list of causes of coughs, some of which are more serious than others, so careful history taking and examination by the vet are needed to decide if further investigations and possible treatment are required (looking for heart and lung problems or other non-infectious airway disease).  However, the most common cause of a dog developing a sudden onset cough, especially at this time of year is an upper airway infection known as ‘kennel cough’.

Does my dog need to have been in kennels to get Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough is not a very good name for the condition because the dog need not have been in kennels to catch it.  In fact, kennel cough is not caused by just one type of infectious agent – it is a general term for any contagious upper respiratory tract infection.  There may also be more than one infectious type of ‘bug’ involved at a time.  The most common causes of kennel cough are a bacteria called Bordetella and a virus called Parainfluenza. 

For more information about kennel cough, see our Kennel Cough Information Sheet