Diagnosing Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough)
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Diagnosing Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough)

Discover how to diagnose canine infectious tracheobronchitis (kennel cough). Learn about symptoms, tests, and FAQs. Keep your furry friend healthy!


If you’re a dog owner, you understand the importance of keeping your furry friend healthy and happy. However, just like humans, dogs can also fall ill, and one common respiratory condition that affects them is Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis, commonly known as Kennel Cough. In this article, we will delve into the world of diagnosing Kennel Cough, exploring the symptoms, diagnostic procedures, and frequently asked questions surrounding this contagious canine condition.

Understanding Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough)

Before we dive into diagnosing Kennel Cough, let’s first understand what it is all about. Kennel Cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease that affects dogs of all ages and breeds. It is typically caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria, with the most common culprits being the parainfluenza virus and the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica.

Dogs contract Kennel Cough through close contact with infected animals, especially in crowded places like kennels, dog parks, or veterinary clinics. The disease spreads rapidly among dogs that come into direct contact with each other or share items such as food bowls or toys.

The symptoms of Kennel Cough are similar to the common cold in humans. Dogs with Kennel Cough may experience a persistent dry cough, sneezing, nasal discharge, and sometimes a mild fever. While it may sound alarming, most cases of Kennel Cough are mild and resolve within a couple of weeks with appropriate treatment.

Diagnosing Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough)

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When it comes to diagnosing Kennel Cough, veterinarians employ various methods to ensure an accurate assessment of the condition. Let’s take a closer look at the diagnostic procedures commonly used:

1. Physical examination and medical history assessment

During a physical examination, the veterinarian will thoroughly examine your dog’s respiratory system. They will listen for abnormal lung sounds, such as wheezing or crackling, and check for any signs of coughing or nasal discharge. Additionally, they will inquire about your dog’s medical history, including recent exposure to other dogs or known cases of Kennel Cough.

2. Nasal swab and culture

To confirm the presence of the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica, veterinarians may perform a nasal swab and culture. This involves gently swabbing the inside of the dog’s nose to collect a sample of mucus or secretions. The sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis, where the presence of the bacteria can be detected and further tests can be conducted if necessary.

3. Blood tests

Blood tests can provide valuable information about your dog’s overall health and help rule out other potential causes of respiratory symptoms. These tests can identify any abnormalities in blood cell counts or indicate the presence of an underlying infection or inflammation.

4. Chest X-rays

In some cases, veterinarians may recommend chest X-rays to assess the condition of your dog’s lungs. X-rays can help identify any abnormalities, such as pneumonia or bronchitis, that may be contributing to the respiratory symptoms. This diagnostic tool provides a visual representation of the dog’s respiratory system, aiding in accurate diagnosis and treatment planning.

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FAQs about Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough)

  1. What are the risk factors for Kennel Cough?

    • The risk factors for Kennel Cough include exposure to other infected dogs, frequent visits to places where dogs congregate, and a weakened immune system. Puppies, senior dogs, and those with pre-existing respiratory conditions are particularly vulnerable.
  2. Can Kennel Cough be transmitted to humans?

    • No, Kennel Cough cannot be transmitted to humans. It is specific to dogs and, in some cases, cats. However, humans can inadvertently carry the bacteria or viruses on their clothing or hands, potentially infecting other dogs.
  3. Is there a vaccine available for Kennel Cough?

    • Yes, there are vaccines available to prevent Kennel Cough. These vaccines are commonly recommended for dogs that frequently interact with other dogs or are at higher risk of exposure, such as those in boarding facilities or participating in dog shows.
  4. How long does it usually take for a dog to recover from Kennel Cough?

    • The recovery time for Kennel Cough can vary depending on the severity of the case and the overall health of the dog. In most cases, dogs recover within 1-3 weeks with proper treatment and plenty of rest. However, it’s essential to follow your veterinarian’s advice and complete the prescribed medication regimen.


Diagnosing Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough) is crucial for ensuring the well-being of your beloved furry companion. By recognizing the symptoms and seeking prompt veterinary care, you can help your dog recover quickly and prevent the spread of this contagious disease to other animals. Remember, if you suspect your dog may have Kennel Cough, consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and guidance on the most appropriate treatment plan. Your furry friend will thank you for it!

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