It’s fall. Besides the changing colors and cooler weather, kennel cough is another thing we expect every fall.

Kennel Cough

Kennel Cough or CIRDC (Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex)

Kennel cough is the common name for Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC). It’s seen in dogs in group situations such as kenneling, grooming, dog shows, dog parks etc. The symptoms include hacking, coughing, sneezing, and retching.

Kennel cough can be caused by the following bugs: Virus: Bocavirus, Canine Adenovirus Type 2, Canine Corona Virus, Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Herpes Virus, Canine Influenza Parainfluenza, Pneumovirus and Reovirus. Bacteria: Bordetella Brochiseptica, Streptococcus Equi, Mycoplasma spp. and secondary bacterial infections.

When we hear the term kennel cough, it’s easy to assume the symptoms can all be laid at the doorstep of a single bug. In truth CRIDC is caused by a mixed bag of virus and bacteria that can attack your pet singly or together. The stress associated with animals that are housed or grouped together enhances transmission of the disease. All dogs are susceptible but unvaccinated, immune compromised, and young animals are most vulnerable.

Kennel cough is often a mild, uncomplicated disease. Your dog may remain relatively healthy and energetic despite the ominous sounding cough. However, a more serious secondary infection can occur and cause pneumonia. Fever, lethargy, and a productive cough are often the signs of more serious disease.

Help Prevent Kennel Cough in Your Pet

You can help your dog avoid infection by vaccinating. Studies have shown that animals who are vaccinated against kennel cough will not become as sick, even when their cough is caused by multiple pathogens. So, keep vaccinating! When there is an outbreak, try to limit exposure if possible. Maybe this isn’t the best time to go to the dog park. Keep your dog at home until 7 days after all symptoms are gone.

You can help prevent your dog from coughing by resting them, avoiding excitement, not using neck leashes and collars, and limiting exercise. Animal Family can prescribe antibiotics, cough suppressants, bronchodilators, immune stimulating drugs and possibly steroids depending on symptoms. This will vary based on how sick your dog is and the individual practitioner.


Call 563-391-9522 if you think your dog may have kennel cough and needs to be seen.

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Animal Family Veterinary Care offers an extensive range of services all in one place, so we can meet your pet’s needs in almost every situation. Our veterinarians in Davenport treat dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and a variety of other exotic species, because every pet is unique and important.