The most common symptoms of kennel cough in dogs and cats include a dry hacking or honking cough, sometimes followed by retching. Other symptoms may include watery to mucoid nasal discharge, sneezing, lethargy, and in severe cases, loss of appetite, depression, and fever. These symptoms will develop 3-4 days after exposure and may last for 10-14 days. The degree of clinical symptoms will vary amongst different pets, and some pets may have no clinical symptoms when exposed to kennel cough. Most pets with kennel cough will have symptoms mostly confined to the respiratory tract. Kennel cough does not typically affect other organs in your pet's body.
Mild kennel cough:
Severe kennel cough:
Diagnosis of kennel cough is most commonly made by the characteristic symptoms, as well as the history of recent exposure to other pets. Bacterial cultures, tracheal washes, viral isolation, and blood work may be done to verify agents of the disease; however, these additional tests are typically not necessary unless coughing is persistent and/or severe.