Kennel Cough (Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex)

And, at risk of a flurry of emails, I’ll add… consider health when choosing a dog. That doesn’t mean no Frenchies, but get one that looks like they used to – one with a nose, not the current popular version of the breed - Scott Weese

Kennel Cough (Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex)
Kennel Cough (Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex)

image by: Pawsitive Pooch

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How Long Does Kennel Cough Last? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Many of us have likely suspected that our dog has had kennel cough at one time or another. It usually goes a little something like this… You take your pup to visit a dog park or leave them at a doggy hotel, and soon after they start having a loud, hacking cough, which starts to sound almost like a goose honk. With kennel cough, also known as infectious tracheobronchitis, this cough is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as a runny nose, eye discharge, inappetence and lethargy.

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 How Long Does Kennel Cough Last? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

While these symptoms accompanied with the history of a recent trip to a dog park or dog hotel are most typical of kennel cough, symptoms can be variable, ranging from very mild to a persistent cough that lasts for weeks. Although it sounds concerning, kennel cough is relatively common and it’s not usually a serious issue. Most of the time, dogs will have mild symptoms which resolve entirely on their own without any need for medication. For some dogs, however, kennel cough can become a serious, and even life-threatening issue especially for older dogs, young puppies, or dogs with compromised immune systems.


Canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC), more familiarly known as "kennel cough," is a highly contagious illness affecting the respiratory tract in dogs. All breeds and ages are susceptible. As the name "kennel cough" suggests, dogs at particular risk are those exposed to settings where multiple dogs are typically gathered or housed, such as kennels, shelters, and daycare facilities. Several different types of bacteria and viruses can contribute to CIRDC, and dogs can be infected by two or more of these organisms at the same time. A few of the more commonly involved organisms include Bordetella bronchiseptica (a bacterium) as well as canine parainfluenza virus and canine adenovirus type 2.

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