PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Kennel cough, also known as, Infectious Tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious upper respiratory canine infection, which can spread rapidly among dogs in close proximity. This illness spreads after a dog is exposed to an infected dog but is not contagious to humans.

Several different viral and bacterial agents can be the cause. Most commonly, kennel cough is caused by the parainfluenza virus and Bordatella. The best way to prevent kennel cough is to prevent exposure.

The most common symptom is a dry hacking cough sometimes followed by retching. Other symptoms may include nasal discharge, lack of appetite and lethargic behavior. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately. More serious cases may lead to pneumonia. More commonly, the cough is the only symptom.

Keep your dog away from smoke or other pollutants and in a stress free environment, as stress weakens the immune system. Fortunately, recovery is usually complete within a couple of weeks without medication, but for more severe or chronic cases, antibiotics and cough suppressants would be needed.

Reported By Nan Talleno, KYW Newsradio