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What is bordetella in dogs?

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 Seymour vets are here to tell you everything you need to know.

What is kennel cough (bordetella) in dogs?

A bacterium called Bordetella bronchiseptica has been linked to canine respiratory disease. It is a component of the canine infectious respiratory complex, also referred to as infectious tracheobronchitis, kennel cough, or upper respiratory infection in dogs.

Bordetella is the most common cause of kennel cough in dogs. 

How do dogs get bordetella?

Dogs are more likely to catch this virus and show signs of an upper respiratory infection if they frequent settings where they might interact with other dogs, such as dog daycare, groomers, dog parks, and boarding facilities.

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
  • Fever

Treatments for Dogs With Bordetella

The good news is that many Bordetella cases will disappear without additional medical attention. In the event that you do take your dog to the vet, the doctor might recommend antibiotics to hasten his recovery. When given a prescription by your veterinarian, always take the entire amount.

Vaccines are also available to prevent infections. Your vet can administer vaccines against these diseases either by an 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.

Your dog is at risk of contracting bordetella if he or she visits dog parks, boarding facilities, dog daycare, training classes, or dog shows. Many of these facilities require dogs to have proof of Bordetella vaccination, so getting the vaccine is beneficial to your dog's 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.

Does your dog need to get its Bordetella vaccination updated? Bring them to the vets at Seymour Veterinary Hospital today to ensure your pooch is protected from this nasty virus. 

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