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Canine infectious tracheobronchitis

Disease Summaries

Canine infectious tracheobronchitis


Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex, Kennel Cough.



The Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex may be brought about by different causative agents responsible for the disease and be exacerbated by various bacteria that act as secondary agents.

The canine parainfluenza virus (CPIV) is one of the main agents responsible for canine infectious tracheobronchitis and belongs to the Paramyxoviridae family of viruses (enveloped RNA viruses).



Very contagious disease, typical of dogs that come into contact with other individuals from the same species, either in groups (dog kennels, breeding farms, dog day care) or in dog shows or parks.



 Aerial transmission, i.e. through the respiratory secretions of infected animals.



This disease occurs suddenly and spreads quickly among dogs housed in kennels and shelters. Generally, the virus temporarily colonises the upper airways, and is self-limiting, regressing within 2-3 weeks.

  • Mild form: characteristic dry cough (“barking cough”), which can even cause vomiting due to the effort involved (often confusing the owner, who may assume it is a case of gastroenteritis).

  • Severe form: only in very young animals, respiratory symptoms become more severe and secondary bacterial infections occur.



Presumptive diagnosis based on respiratory symptoms, sudden onset, rapid spread in animals within a group setting (may affect 100% of the group) and the medical history of the animal.



Treatment varies depending on the severity of the disease, because normally the disease is self-limiting and simply improving sanitary conditions is sufficient. If it persists, cough and mucus treatment, as well as antibiotic therapy for bacterial infections, may be required.

To prevent risk of the disease, vaccination is necessary. As preventive measures, kennels and shelters must try to avoid: extreme temperatures and reduced ventilation, too high a density of dogs, poor hygiene measures.