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Bordetella in Dogs

Bordetella, or kennel cough, is a very contagious virus that can affect dogs of all ages, especially those who are unvaccinated. In this post, our South Plainfield vets discuss the causes, signs, treatment, and prevention of Bordetella in dogs.

What is Bordetella (kennel cough) in dogs?

Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacterium that can cause respiratory diseases in dogs. It is one component of the canine infectious respiratory complex, sometimes referred to as kennel cough, upper respiratory infection, or infectious tracheobronchitis.

Canine facilities, such as daycare centers, boarding kennels, dog shows, parks, and training classes, often require dogs to be vaccinated against Bordetella. This is because the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria is the most common cause of kennel cough in dogs.

While there are other possible causes of kennel cough in dogs, the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria is the most common cause.

How Dogs Contract Bordetella

Dogs who spend a great deal of time in social environments like groomers, dog parks, or kennels are more likely to come into contact with and contract Bordetella. The infection happens when a dog inhales the bacteria. These particles will enter the respiratory tract, and dogs can experience an inflamed windpipe or voice box.

Some situations can increase the likelihood of a dog catching diseases caused by the bacterium. These include:

  • 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)

Bordetella in Dogs Symptoms

When it comes to Bordetella in dogs, the symptoms usually include a persistent, dry cough. Some people say that the sound of this cough resembles that of a goose's honk.

Some other possible signs of a Bordetella infection in dogs include:

  • Eye discharge
  • Less of an appetite
  • A consistently runny nose
  • Fever

Treating Dogs With Bordetella

Bordetella usually clears up without any direct treatment. If you're worried about your dog's cough and decide to bring them for a checkup, they might prescribe antibiotics to help expedite their recovery. Always follow the full dosage of any medicine prescribed by your veterinarian.

Vaccines are also available to prevent your dog from developing this condition. Your vet can administer vaccines against these diseases by injection or nose drops. Most pet boarding facilities require that all pets have the Bordetella vaccine before boarding.

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. It has sometimes been referred to as the 'kennel cough vaccine.'

If your dog goes to dog parks, boarding facilities, dog daycare, or attends training classes or dog shows, they are at risk for contracting Bordetella. Many of these facilities require dogs to come with proof of the Bordetella vaccination, so it is in your dog’s best interest for his health and extracurricular activities to get the vaccine.

How long is the Bordetella vaccine good for in dogs?

Most vets administer this vaccine and concurrent booster shots during each annual checkup. However, some vets or facilities may request that dogs be vaccinated every six months for adequate protection.

Are there any side effects for dogs receiving the Bordetella vaccine?

The Bordetella vaccine generally doesn't have any serious side effects in dogs. However, this does vary between dogs. Your veterinarian may advise against getting the Bordetella vaccine if your dog is immunocompromised, sick, or pregnant, and 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.

Is it time to have your dog vaccinated against Bordetella? Contact our South Plainfield vets to book an appointment to protect your pup.

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At Plainfield Animal Hospital, we are always welcoming new patients! Our vets are passionate about providing state-of-the-art care to South Plainfield's companion animals. Contact us today to book your first appointment.

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