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Canine Adenovirus type-2 (CAV-2)

What is canine adenovirus type-2?

Canine adenovirus type-2 is a much milder version of canine adenovirus type-1 which causes minor respiratory problems. The virus is one of the causes of infectious tracheobronchitis, also know as “canine cough” or “kennel cough”

What are the symptoms of canine adenovirus type-2?

The symptoms to look out for are:-

  • Dry, hacking cough
  • Conjunctivitis (causing redness and inflammation of the eye)
  • Coughing up foamy discharge
  • Retching
  • Nasal discharge

What are the causes of canine adenovirus type-2?

Contact with the adenovirus type-2 via the feaces, urine or saliva of an infected dog.

What are the risk factors of canine adenovirus type-2?

Full recovery can be expected but in some cases it can lead to pneumonia, which can be life threatening.


Your vet will want to hear some background history of your dog’s health, details of any symptoms and about any possible exposure to the virus through contact with other dogs. In addition to a thorough physical examination, blood and urine samples will be taken for testing and analysis as they will want to rule out any other more serious conditions such as canine adenovirus type-1, canine distemper and parvovirus which initially exhibit similar symptoms.

What treatment can be given for canine adenovirus?

Supportive care is all that is likely to be needed. Ensure your dog gets plenty of fluids and rest.  Isolate him from other dogs to prevent transmitting the virus and also to protect him from catching any other illness while his immunity is low.  During recovery, dogs with kennel cough should wear a harness when out walking as a collar can put pressure on his airways, causing him to cough.

How to prevent canine adenovirus type-2

No particular breed is susceptible to the virus but it is more commonly seen in dogs under 1 year old. A highly effective vaccination is available and is strongly advised, as it will also protect him against the more serious adenovirus type-2.  The vaccine can be given to a puppy at 6-8 weeks old, followed by 2 boosters given 3-4 weeks apart, with an additional booster at 1 year.

If your dog has not been vaccinated avoid areas where other dogs congregate, such as rescue centres, breeding kennels, boarding kennels, parks and groomers.

The virus can survive for several months, so to avoid transmission of the virus to any other dog; contaminated surfaces must be cleaned with a bleach solution (one part bleach, 32 parts water).