A persistent, dry, hacking cough is the most common symptom of kennel cough. This may be accompanied by gagging and the presence of white foam in the mouth.
"Kennel cough" is a general term for a variety of contagious respiratory diseases, including bordatella, canine parainfluenza virus and canine distemper virus. It usually occurs after exposure to a large number of dogs, such as in a kennel, veterinary clinic or shelter.
Kennel cough is most widely associated with a distinctive cough that is often described as being similar to a goose honking, but other types of cough can occur as well. Common signs of illness, including eye and nasal discharge, may also be present. Kennel cough is typically a mild infection, so dogs usually retain their appetites and normal behaviors. Dogs that exhibit lethargy or loss of appetite may have a more serious illness and should be seen by a veterinarian.
Kennel cough is usually fairly easy to treat. Because it can have so many causes and is usually mild, the most common treatment is to let heal naturally, which usually takes about three weeks. Dogs with kennel cough should still be seen by a veterinarian because there are many treatments, such as cough suppressants, that may help alleviate the symptoms. Dogs with kennel cough need to be isolated from other dogs until no longer contagious.