Tracheobronchitis is an inflammation of the trachea (windpipe) and bronchi (the upper airways in the lungs). There are many different viruses and bacteria which cause tracheobronchitis. Viruses are the more common cause.
Dogs are infected by coming into contact with other infected dogs. Some infected dogs show no symptoms. The disease is highly contagious and can be contracted by exposure to an area where an infected dog has recently coughed. Immunity amongst dogs varies.
The predominant sign of the disease is a dry, hacking cough in an otherwise healthy dog. The coughing usually occurs in short bursts often followed by gagging and the expectoration of mucus/froth. Many people think there is something stuck at the back of the throat. Excitement, exercise and pulling on the lead often induces coughing.
Intermittent coughing can persist for two weeks with little other effect on the dog. These dogs generally do not require any treatment. Human cough suppressants are safe to use but are of limited value. In a small percentage of dogs, the disease can be a lot more severe. There may be a fever, loss of appetite and lethargy. These dogs require antibiotics and other care.
At present it is only possible to vaccinate against two of the organisms that cause kennel cough: Parainfluenza virus and the bacterium Bortadella bronchiseptica.
The standard C5 vaccine includes Parainfluenza and Bortadella. A dog that receives a C5 vaccine is as protected from kennel cough as is possible. A C3 vaccine does not include any protection against kennel cough.