Is Kennel Cough in Dogs Contagious?

Kennel cough in dogs is very contagious for canines and affects the upper respiratory system. Also known as infectious tracheobronchitis, kennel cough can be caused by both viral and bacterial infections. Vaccinations are available but many not offer complete protection from the disease, though they can minimize the severity of symptoms.

Causes of Kennel Cough

The most common virus to cause kennel cough is the parainfluenza virus, while other viruses like canine adenovirus and canine herpes virus may also contribute to the condition. The Bordetella bacteria is the most common cause of kennel cough, and will often appear along with the viral parainfluenza infection. Symptoms can last for seven days to up to three weeks. While the infection often clears up on its own, antibiotics may be needed for more persistent or severe symptoms.

Preventing the Spread of Kennel Cough in Dogs

Kennel cough is spread through airborne organisms and is highly contagious. Keep sick dogs away from other pets, especially puppies or dogs with suppressed immune systems. If your dog has been infected, isolation is essential. Kennel cough may also affect humans with compromised immune systems or children, so keep infected dogs away from these individuals as a precaution.

Always continue any medication or treatment that has been prescribed by your veterinarian, even if symptoms appear to clear up early. Your dog may still spread kennel cough after symptoms have disappeared.