Tracheobronchitis is also known as "kennel cough". This is probably a misnomer, since most dogs that get this disease have not been in kennels. Still, when dogs are placed in group situations, they are often exposed to the organisms that cause tracheobronchitis. It is sort of like all the colds that are seen in kindergartners.

There are a number of possible causes of tracheobronchitis but most cases are probably caused by the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica. Other causes are canine distemper virus, parainfluenza virus, adenovirus infection and possibly Mycoplasmal organisms.

A dry hacking cough is the most common sign of this disease. Most vets assume that a dog has tracheobronchitis when the owner calls on the phone and says "my dog has a bone caught in his throat". The type of cough really does cause many people to assume that there must be something caught in the dog's throat and many dogs retch at the end of the coughing. In some cases, pneumonia may occur as a complication of this disease.

It is probably OK to treat this condition by simply using medications to control the cough but most owners are more content if antibiotics are used and most vets therefore put the dogs on an antibiotic for seven to ten days. Hydrocodone or butorphenol cough suppressants work best and every vet seems to have a personal favorite antibiotic for this condition.

All of the organisms that cause this disease appear to be pretty contagious so it is not unusual for all the dogs in a household to rapidly become infected.