Kennel cough, what’s new?

Canine infectious tracheobronchitis, canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRD) or ‘kennel cough’, is a disease of multifactorial aetiology especially affecting dogs housed intensively. Clinical signs are acute in onset and usually stay confined to the upper respiratory tract, although some cases will develop lower respiratory tract involvement and potentially fatal disease. Multiple organisms have traditionally been associated with the kennel cough complex worldwide, including Bordetella bronchiseptica, Canine parainfluenza virus, Canine adenovirus-2, Canine herpesvirus-1, and Canine distemper virus. Although vaccination is widely used, it is not uncommon for vaccinated dogs to develop clinical signs of CIRD, in addition there seems to be a recent emergence of more severe and fatal cases. This could be caused by vaccine failure, or (more likely) the signs may be caused by several ‘emerging’ pathogens that have not been covered in routine vaccination.

Canine respiratory coronavirus, Canine influenza virus, Canine pneumovirus, Streptococcus zooepidemicus have been recently identified to be associated with mild to severe signs of coughing in dogs abroad, either as primary, secondary or potentially synergistic pathogens. Vaccination of kennelled dogs for Canine influenza virus (CIV) has been recommended in kennelled dogs in the United States, and also a Canine respiratory coronavirus (CRCoV) vaccine has been developed following outbreaks of CRCoV infection in the United Kingdom.

Massey University’s Els Acke and  Nick Cave along with PhD student Gauri More are undertaking a research project to look at kennel cough in New Zealand. The research project includes a survey to determine the seroprevalance and shedding of viral pathogens in dogs with signs of kennel cough and clinically unaffected dogs is being performed. Researchers aim to isolate and identify the specific pathogens present in clinically affected dogs to determine the role of pathogens in kennel cough and those not previously recognised in New Zealand as part of the kennel cough complex to improve diagnostic, prevention and control strategies of CIRD in New Zealand.

If you are interested in participating in this study and you have a number of suspected kennel cough cases consulting your practice (either as a possible outbreak or multiple individual cases), please contact us promptly and we will provide sample packs and questionnaires free of charge.

Contacts Details

Gauri More
PhD candidate
+61 6 356 9099 extn 858556

Contacts Details

Nick Cave 
Senior Lecturer in Small Animal Medicine & Nutrition 
+61 6 350 5329