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Bordetella in Dogs

The Bordetella virus (commonly known as kennel cough) is a highly contagious disease that can affect all dog breeds. In this post, our Tumwater vets discuss the causes, signs, treatment, and prevention of Bordetella in dogs.

What Is Bordetella in Dogs?

Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacterium that is closely related to respiratory disease in dogs. It is one of the components 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.

Keep in mind, that Bordetella is not the only cause of kennel cough in dogs, however,  it is the most common.

How Dogs Contract Bordetella

Dogs in areas with a higher, more concentrated population of dogs (such as those mentioned above) are more likely to come into contact with this virus and develop signs of an upper respiratory infection.

Inhaling bacterial particles is the main way in which a dog will catch Bordetella. When these particles enter the respiratory tract, 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

Kennel cough in dogs primarily presents itself as a persistent, dry cough. Some people say that the sound of this cough resembles that of a goose's honk.

Other signs of a Bordetella infection to keep an eye out for include:

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

Treating Dogs With Bordetella

Thankfully, many cases of Bordetella will go away on their own without any treatment. If you're worried about your dog's cough and decide to bring them to the vet, 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 either by injection or via nose drops. These vaccinations are generally required if you wish to board your pet overnight.

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 your dog goes to dog parks, boarding facilities, dog daycare, or attends training classes or dog shows, then 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.

Bordetella Vaccine Side Effects in Dogs

If you're wondering 'How long is the Bordetella vaccine good for in dogs?', the vaccine is typically administered annually, although boarding facilities or pet hospitals may recommend it every six months.

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, 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.

Are you looking to have your dog vaccinated against Bordetella? Contact our Tumwater vets to book an appointment to have your pup protected.

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