Infectious tracheobronchitis

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Intranasal administration of //B. bronchiseptica and parainfluenza virus vaccine[1]

Infectious tracheobronchitis (kennel cough) is an umbrella term for an infectious upper respiratory disease of young dogs characterized by a characteristic hacking cough.

Although most cases are initiated by stress associated with kenneling or in high density environments, primary initation of the disease appears to be viral, followed inexorably with secondary bacterial overpopulation of damaged ciliary epithelium within the upper respiratory tree[2].

Etiological agents of infectious tracheobronchitis include:

- canine parainfluenza virus H3N8[3]
- canine respiratory coronavirus[4]
- canine influenza virus
- canine adenovirus type 1 & 2[5]
- canine herpesvirus 1[6]
- canine hepacivirus
- Mycoplasma cynos[7]
- Bordetella bronchispetica[8]
- Streptococcus equi sub zooepidemicus
- Chlamydophila psittaci (rare)

Enhancement of pathogenicity by multiple infections can result in more severe clinical forms[9].

Clinically signs are common in younger dogs under 6 months of age, although dogs of any age can be affected. Symptoms are characterized by upper respiratory signs such as coughing, dry retching, dysphagia, anorexia, and with secondary bacterial infections, fever, anorexia and dyspnea.

Diagnosis is often made presumptively on clinical signs in housed or kennel dogs, but supportive evidence can be obtained from haematological studies, chest radiographs, and transtracheal washes[10].

A differential diagnosis is isolated cases of coughing must include other respiratory diseases such as heartworm disease (Dirofilaria spp) and lungworm (Filaroides osleri)[11].

Treatment is aimed primarily at palliative care, such as antitussive drugs, broad-spectrum antimicrobials (e.g. enrofloxacin or amoxycillin/clavulanate) and fluid therapy.

Triannual core vaccines and yearly intranasal parainfluenza and B. bronchiseptica tend to reduce clinical signs associated with the disease[12].


  2. Wagener JS et al (1984) Role of canine parainfluenza virus and Bordetella bronchiseptica in kennel cough. Am J Vet Res 45(9):1862-1866
  3. Anderson TC et al (2008) Serological evidence of H3N8 canine influenza-like virus circulation in USA dogs prior to 2004. Vet J 191(3):312-316
  4. Mochizuki M et al (2008) Etiologic study of upper respiratory infections of household dogs. J Vet Med Sci 70(6):563-569
  5. Ditchfield J et al (1962) Association of canine adenovirus (Toronto A 26/61) with an outbreak of laryngotracheitis ('kennel cough'). Can Vet J 3:238–247
  6. Gadsden BJ et al (2012) Fatal Canid herpesvirus 1 infection in an adult dog. J Vet Diagn Invest 24(3):604-607
  7. Chvala S et al (2007) Simultaneous canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus type 2, and Mycoplasma cynos infection in a dog with pneumonia. Vet Pathol 44(4):508-512
  8. Ellis J et al (2011) Seroepidemiology of respiratory (group 2) canine coronavirus, canine parainfluenza virus, and Bordetella bronchiseptica infections in urban dogs in a humane shelter and in rural dogs in small communities. Can Vet J 52(8):861-868
  9. Buonavoglia C & Martella V (2007) Canine respiratory viruses. Vet Res 38(2):355-373
  10. Williams M et al (2006) Transtracheal wash from a puppy with respiratory disease. Vet Clin Pathol 35(4):471-473
  11. Boersema JH et al (1989) A persistent case of kennel cough caused by Filaroides osleri. Tijdschr Diergeneeskd 114(1):10-13
  12. Edinboro CH et al (2004) A placebo-controlled trial of two intranasal vaccines to prevent tracheobronchitis (kennel cough) in dogs entering a humane shelter. Prev Vet Med 62(2):89-99