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 Fort Oglethorpe vets are here to tell you everything you need to know.
What Is Kennel Cough (Bordetella) in Dogs?
Canine respiratory disease is often caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica, a bacterium that is commonly associated with kennel cough, upper respiratory infections, or infectious tracheobronchitis. This particular bacterium is the leading cause of kennel cough among dogs.
How Do Dogs Get Bordetella?
Dogs that frequent areas where they may interact with other dogs, such as doggy daycare, groomers, dog parks, and boarding facilities, have a higher chance of contracting bordetella and displaying symptoms of an upper respiratory infection.
The primary source of infection for dogs is inhaling bacterial particles. When these particles reach the respiratory tract, it can lead to inflammation in the windpipe or voice box.
Specific circumstances can heighten the likelihood of dogs contracting diseases caused by the bacterium, including:
- 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
Dogs with Bordetella infections typically have a persistent cough that can be likened to the honking of a goose, as reported by dog owners. This type of cough is known as "reverse sneezing," according to veterinarians.
Other symptoms of Bordetella infections in dogs may include:
- Eye discharge
- Less of an appetite
- A consistently runny nose
Treatments for Dogs With Bordetella
Great news! In most cases, Bordetella can resolve on its own without any additional treatment. However, if you decide to take your dog to the vet, they might prescribe antibiotics to speed up the recovery process. It's important to take the full dose of medication as the veterinarian prescribes.
Vaccines are also available to prevent infections. Your vet can administer vaccines against these diseases by injecting or nose drops.
Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs
The Bordetella vaccine, commonly known as the "kennel cough vaccine," is readily available for dogs to protect them from this specific virus. If your furry friend frequents dog parks, boarding facilities, dog daycare, training classes, or dog shows, they may be at risk of contracting bordetella.
Many of these places require proof of Bordetella vaccination. The intranasal version of the vaccine is typically administered annually, but some facilities may recommend it every six months.
While vaccinations are generally safe, weighing the benefits against any risks is important. If your dog is immunocompromised, sick, or pregnant, your veterinarian may advise against getting the Bordetella vaccine to avoid any potential side effects.
They will discuss the risks and benefits of the vaccine for dogs with a previous history of vaccine reactions. It's ultimately in your dog's best interest to consider getting the vaccine for their health and participation in extracurricular activities: 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.