Canine Upper Respiratory Tract Infection

Sick Dog

What is a Canine Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URT), (a.k.a. Kennel Cough)

Kennel Cough (Canine Upper Respiratory Tract Infection) is a common and highly contagious respiratory disease.  Unfortunately, it is impossible to entirely safeguard against this virus.  Even vaccinated dogs may acquire kennel cough (although usually a less severe form than they would have otherwise).  The virus incubates for up to two weeks.  This means that dogs who appear perfectly healthy during their stay may be carrying one of the viruses that cause kennel cough.  The vaccination cannot protect your dog from all of the illnesses that contribute to Kennel Cough, but we require all dogs to be vaccinated against the most common strains.

What are some symptoms

Runny nose, watery eyes, and a “hacking cough” are the hallmarks of kennel cough.  The cough can sometimes cause the dog to wretch up foamy phlegm.  It has also been described as “something stuck in my dog’s throat” or “like a cat trying to hack up a hairball.”  It is comparable to a chest cold in a person.

A dog with kennel cough will usually clear the infection on its own in one to three weeks… similar to symptoms of a human cold.  Spring and summer are the peak seasons for kennel cough infections.

Kennel cough is highly contagious.  It can travel through the air or by direct contact.  This is why Oneka Pet Resort is highly vigilant against this disease.

We require all dogs be vaccinated against it and we use kennel disinfectants that kill the virus on surfaces.

Important Points

  • The incubation period is between two and ten days.  This means that even a healthy looking dog today could come down with kennel cough in a week.
  • Dogs can get kennel cough even if they are vaccinated against it.
  • This virus can be contracted from dog parks, passing another dog on the street, or, anywhere dogs are in close proximity to one another.
  • Usually this infection is self-limiting but can sometimes be severe enough to warrant medications.

What should I do if my dog has kennel cough

It’s always a good idea to consult your veterinarian if your dog shows symptoms of illness, however, your dog should see their vet if:

  • Cough worsens or doesn’t improve over one to two weeks.
  • Your dog becomes depressed or stops eating.
  • Nasal discharge is noticed, and especially if it is colored.

More information about kennel cough can be found here and here.