Kennel cough is a syndrome affecting canines. Characterized as inflammation of the upper respiratory system, it can be caused by viral infections, such as canine distemper, canine adenovirus, canine parainfluenza virus, canine respiratory coronavirus or Orthomyxoviridae Influenzavirus, or bacterial infections, such as Bordetella bronchiseptica. It is so named because the infection can spread quickly among dogs, such as in the close quarters of a kennel.
Both virus and bacterial causes of kennel cough are spread through the air by infected dogs sneezing and coughing. It can also spread through contact with contaminated surfaces and through direct contact. It is highly contagious, even days or weeks after symptoms disappear. Symptoms begin usually two to three days after exposure, and can progress to pneumonia. Various studies have shown that kennel cough is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can transfer from animal to human and vice versa. These studies indicate that Bordetella bronchiseptica infections in humans are uncommon and generally occur in immunocompromised individuals.