If your dog needs to be groomed or boarded at a facility while you are away, it must be protected against the highly contagious Bordetella (Kennel Cough) virus. Our Madison vets are here to tell you everything you need to know.
What Is Kennel Cough (Bordetella) in Dogs?
Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacterium that is linked to canine respiratory disease. It is part of the canine infectious respiratory complex, which is also known as kennel cough, upper respiratory infection, or infectious tracheobronchitis.
Bordetella is the most common cause of kennel cough in dogs.
How Do Dogs Get Bordetella?
Dogs who visit places where they may come into contact with other dogs, such as doggy daycare, groomers, dog parks, and boarding facilities, are more likely to contract this virus and develop symptoms of an upper respiratory infection.
The main way dogs catch bordetella is by inhaling bacterial particles. When these particles make their way to the respiratory tract, the dog can experience an inflamed windpipe or voice box.
Certain situations can increase the chances of a dog catching diseases caused by the bacterium. These include the following:
- Staying in a poorly ventilated living space (such as certain kennels)
- Colder temperatures
- Exposure to dust or smoke
- Stress (often brought on by travel issues)
Symptoms of Bordetella in Dogs
Bordetella infections in dogs are characterized by a persistent cough. Coughing can sound similar to a honking goose, according to dog parents. Vets refer to this as "reverse sneezing."
Some other symptoms of Bordetella infections in dogs include:
- Eye discharge
- Less of an appetite
- A consistently runny nose
Treatments for Dogs With Bordetella
The good news is that many Bordetella cases will resolve on their own without the need for further treatment. If you do take your dog to the vet, they may prescribe antibiotics to help him recover faster. Always take the full dose of any medication prescribed by your veterinarian.
Vaccines are also available to prevent infections. Your vet can administer vaccines against these diseases either by injection or via nose drops.
Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs
The Bordetella vaccine for dogs protects against this specific virus and is widely available to keep your dog safe from kennel cough. You may have heard it called the “kennel cough vaccine.” If you're wondering how long the bordetella vaccine in dogs is good for, the intranasal version of the vaccine is typically administered annually, although boarding facilities or hospitals may recommend it every six months.
If your dog visits dog parks, boarding facilities, dog daycare, training classes, or dog shows, he or she is at risk of contracting bordetella. Many of these facilities require dogs to have proof of Bordetella vaccination, so getting the vaccine is in your dog's best interest for his health and extracurricular activities.
Vaccinations are usually very safe, but the benefits of vaccinations must be weighed against any risks. Your veterinarian may advise against getting the Bordetella vaccine if your dog is immunocompromised, sick, or pregnant, to avoid side effects of the bordetella vaccine in dogs. They will discuss the risks and benefits of the vaccine for dogs with a previous history of vaccine reactions.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.