Bordetella, The Kennel Cough Vaccine

Bordetella Brochiseptica, commonly known as Kennel Cough, is a bacterial infection that is easily spread from one dog to another. It is one of the most common bacterial causes of Canine Tracheobronchitis, and it is transmitted through the air or through direct contact with a contagious patient. In healthy adult dogs Bordetella can be very mild and self-limiting, and generally, they do not require treatment. However, with any dog, but especially our young puppies or our older dog patients, this infection can cause more severe symptoms and more aggressive treatment may be necessary to prevent serious illness.

Bordetella Bronchiseptica infections typically develop 2-14 days after exposure to a contagious patient. Usually, dogs contract this bacteria while boarding, grooming, at dog parks, or any other situation where your dog may be in close contact with a contagious dog. In more mild cases, symptoms resolve in about 10 – 14 days, while in more severe cases, symptoms can last much longer. Symptoms include a honking cough, hacking, or gagging. Often, the owner will observe these symptoms and become concerned that their dogs may have something stuck in their throat or that they trying to vomit. Fever and lethargy may also occur with Kennel Cough, and your pet may also experience some colored nasal or eye discharge.

Thankfully, we have a vaccine for this illness. This is not considered a “core vaccine”, but is a vaccine we will recommend based on your dog’s lifestyle. If your dog gets boarded, goes to a groomer, goes to dog parks or other social dog activities, or comes in contact with other dogs as part of their regular lifestyle, we will recommend the Bordetella vaccine for your dog. This vaccine is similar to the human flu vaccine in that is only vaccinates for certain strains of bacteria that cause Canine Tracheobronchitis, but with the vaccine on board, it can help reduce the severity of the infection should your dog contract Kennel Cough despite having had the vaccine. In the past, this vaccine was labeled for injection as the method for delivery, but today we have an intranasal vaccine where drops are placed in your dog’s nose to provide local immunity, and also in an oral vaccination method of delivery, which most dogs really love because it also tastes like chicken!

Please contact us at Colonial Terrace Animal Hospital to find out if your pet is due for the Bordetella vaccine, or if you are wondering if your dog should be vaccinated. We would be happy to answer all of your questions about your pets’ vaccinations, and we look forward to helping you provide the best, healthiest life for your beloved pet!