If you're taking your pup to the groomer or to be boarded at a facility while you're away, they will need to be protected from the highly contagious Bordetella virus. In this post, our Southern Wisconsin vets explain what the Bordetella virus is, what the symptoms are, and how to protect your dog against it.
What Is Bordetella, or Kennel Cough, in Dogs?
Bordetella bronchiseptica is a type of bacteria linked to canine respiratory disease and often kennel cough. It infects the upper respiratory system and is transmittable through contact between dogs. The Bordetella bacteria is the most common cause of kennel cough in dogs.
How Do Dogs Get Bordetella?
Dogs who will be in areas where they may come into contact with other dogs such as doggy daycare, the groomers, the dog park, and boarding facilities, are more likely to come into contact with this virus and develop signs of an upper respiratory infection.
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 the sound of a honking goose, according to dog parents. Vets sometimes call this "reverse sneezing."
Some other symptoms of Bordetella infections in dogs include:
- Eye discharge
- Less of an appetite
- A consistently runny nose
Treatments for Dogs With Bordetella
The good news is that many Bordetella cases will resolve on their own without the need for further treatment. If you do take your dog to the vet, they may prescribe antibiotics to help him recover faster. Always follow the full dosage of any medicine prescribed by your vet.
Vaccines are also available to prevent infections. Your vet can administer vaccines against these diseases either by injection or via nose drops.
Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs
You may have heard of this vaccine referred to as the "Kennel Cough Vaccine." It is widely effective and administered by most veterinarian clinics.
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 have proof of Bordetella vaccination, so getting the vaccine is in your dog's best interest for his health and extracurricular activities.
You may wonder how long the Bordetella vaccine lasts. The intranasal version of the vaccine is typically administered annually, although boarding facilities or hospitals may recommend it every six months.
Are there side effects to the Bordetella vaccine in dogs?
Like most vaccines, the benefits must be weighed against the risks. Your veterinarian may advise against getting the Bordetella vaccine if your dog is immunocompromised, sick, or pregnant. It is always best to consult your veterinarian before asking for the Bordetella vaccine.
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.