Canine Cough (also called tracheobronchitis, or formerly, kennel cough) is an upper-respiratory infection much like the human cold.  It is a highly contagious disease than can cause severe throat irritation and coughing in dogs. This disease is primarily caused by two airborne organisms (bordatella bronchiseptica and parainfluenza virus).


Your pet may contact canine cough almost anywhere

  • in the park

  • on the street

  • obedience class

  • the groomer

  • at a kennel

  • dog shows


The symptoms of canine cough include

  • coughing

  • sneezing

  • retching

  • nasal discharge


Chronic cough can keep both you and your dog up all night.  Extremely old, young or immunocompromised dogs can be at risk of secondary pneumonia.  Puppies can be particularly threatened by canine cough as it may stunt the development of the lungs, affecting the lung capacity of the dog for life.


Canine cough vaccines are available as a safe, oral (by mouth) vaccine or by injection. The oral vaccine is normally used in puppies and is easy to give alongside a treat. There is an intra-nasal vaccine but most dogs do not tolerate this very well.  This vaccine can be part of your dog’s yearly vaccination program to help build immunity to this disease (specifically to bordatella bronchiseptica).  The routine yearly vaccines currently given to your dog by your veterinarian already include parainfluenza, the other primary organism causing canine cough.  Together, these vaccines will provide better than 80% protection against canine cough for your dog (much like our “flu shots” helps protect us.  Imagine if we could do this for our common cold!


Most kennels and groomers, obedience classes and dog shows require that dogs be fully vaccinated for canine cough (along with routine yearly vaccines).   The Bowmanville Veterinary Clinic also requires that your dog be vaccinated for canine cough prior to boarding with us.  The intra-nasal vaccine may be given as little as 3 days prior to boarding due to the swift effectiveness of the vaccine.


We recommend yearly vaccination for canine cough along with the other core vaccines.  Dogs that are continually in high risk situations, such as dog shows and boarding should be boostered every 6 months.


Please call our office for more information about this highly infectious disease