Authored by: Dr. Lindsey, DVM
There are many causes of coughing in dogs, today I will touch on two problems that both have a vaccine to help prevent them. Kennel cough (infectious tracheobronchitis) is caused by several different viruses and bacteria such as adenovirus type-2, parainfluenza virus, and the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica. The dog flu (Canine Influenza) is a viral malady that is caused by 2 different strains, H3N8 and H3N2.
Both issues can cause very similar symptoms but from my experience dogs with influenza usually seem to feel worse then dogs with kennel cough. Some signs of both include coughing, runny eyes and nose, lethargy, inappetence, and possibly a fever. Both kennel cough and influenza are very contagious to other dogs and are easily spread through respiratory secretions. A dog that is infected with either of these issues is recommended to be isolated from other dogs in the house, dog parks, doggie daycares etc.
If your dog is coughing, it’s important to have them seen by a veterinarian. Steps to help your dog overcome either kennel cough or influenza depends on the veterinarian’s findings. Dogs with a mild case of kennel cough are usually recovered in 1-2 weeks while dogs with influenza may take longer to recover. The good news is there are vaccines for both kennel cough and influenza. Talk to your veterinarian to determine if vaccinating against kennel cough and/or influenza is right for your dog.
Dr. Lindsey graduated from Colorado State University in 2009 and works in general practice, shelter medicine, and more recently as a civilian contractor veterinarian for the Army. She is also certified in acupuncture and resides in Palm Springs, CA.