Along with Bordetella bronchiseptica (a bacterium) and parainfluenza (a virus), canine adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2) is one of the reasons dogs get kennel cough, which can cause coughing, fever, and a runny nose. A vaccine against CAV-2 is readily available and generally a part of a combination vaccine for other diseases. All dogs should receive the vaccine against CAV-2, which also protects against canine adenovirus type 1 (CAV-1), a much more serious illness.


Canine adenovirus type 2 causes respiratory disease in dogs and is one of the infectious agents commonly associated with canine infectious tracheobronchitis, which is also known as kennel cough.

Canine infectious tracheobronchitis is usually spread from dog to dog through coughing. Dogs that are around other dogs, such as at boarding facilities, grooming salons, or dog parks, are at increased risk for exposure.


A vaccine is available to prevent CAV-2 infection. However, it is important to realize that the vaccine does not completely prevent a dog from contracting CAV-2. Rather, the vaccine limits the severity of infection so that vaccinated dogs typically experience a milder form of the disease.

The CAV-2 vaccine also protects against infection with canine adenovirus type 1. CAV-1 causes infectious canine hepatitis — a dangerous and potentially fatal infection. Because CAV-2 is common and the CAV-2 vaccine cross-protects against CAV-1, the CAV-2 vaccine is considered a core vaccine by organized veterinary medicine, meaning that all dogs should receive this vaccine.

The CAV-2 vaccine is typically given in a combination vaccine that also protects against other serious diseases, such as canine distemper and canine parvovirus infection. This vaccine is administered by subcutaneous injection (injection under the skin), and many different preparations of this vaccine are currently on the market. Your veterinarian will recommend an appropriate vaccination schedule for your pet.

Other preventive measures against CAV-2 include:

  • Keeping puppies away from other dogs until the puppy vaccination series is complete.
  • Avoiding exposing your dog to unvaccinated and sick animals.
  • Keeping your dog out of facilities where animals have been known to be infected with kennel cough.

This article was reviewed by a Veterinarian.