Bordetella (Kennel Cough)

Kennel cough is a highly infectious disease of a dog’s upper respiratory system and is most commonly caused by bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica. Kennel cough can also have a viral origin, specifically from canine distemper, canine adenovirus, and other viral agents. A hacking, repetitive cough is produced by a dog infected with the Bordetella bacteria. The dog infected with kennel cough will usually exhibit a normal appetite and activity level. Listlessness and loss of appetite can occur, however. When ill with this disease, the dog will cough almost continuously for up to three weeks, and some dogs will be infected for twice that time. Although kennel cough will generally resolve itself without any problem, this disease can progress to pneumonia, in which case veterinary help will definitely be needed. Prevention is the key to keeping your dog healthy and canine Bordetella vaccine is the answer.

The name kennel cough denotes not only the disease’s greatest symptom, but also the disease’s ability to spread when a dog is exposed to other dogs in a boarding situation. While this is the most likely manner for a dog to pick up a Bordetella infection, unless your dog never leaves the house, it can become infected in several other ways. Many people take their dog to a professional grooming service and can unwittingly expose their pet to kennel cough there. Numerous dogs pass through a grooming service every day and any of them could be incubating kennel cough. A dog can spread the bacteria even before any symptoms are showing.

However, even if your dog is never boarded or groomed professionally, it can still be in danger of being infected by kennel cough. A visit to a dog park will expose your dog to other animals, any of which could have kennel cough. Even such a harmless activity as walking your dog might bring it into contact with a dog that is already infected. As the Bordetella bacteria are airborne organisms spread by coughing, it is quite possible for your dog to be exposed just by passing another dog. Additionally, a dog that has recovered from kennel cough will still produce the infective organism for months; so that even a dog that seems healthy could spread the disease.

While avoidance of ‘social situations’ might serve to prevent your dog from contracting kennel cough, it is probably wisest to have your dog vaccinated against this disease. There are two canine Bordetella vaccines available to keep your dog healthy: Intranasal Bordetella Vaccine and Bordetella Shots. It should be noted that neither vaccine will protect your dog if it has already been infected, even if it is showing no symptoms.

The Intranasal Bordetella Vaccine delivers immunological protection right to the area where kennel cough will begin, the nose. Drops are administered to each of the dog’s nostrils. This nasal vaccine can be given to puppies three weeks old. Generally, within four days, the dog or puppy will be protected from kennel cough. Sometimes there will be a bit of sneezing and localized irritation from the nasal vaccine, but this will pass quickly and your dog will be assured of protection against kennel cough. The immunity provided by the Intranasal Bordetella Vaccine will generally last for about one year. A booster should be administered at this time. A dog that might be placed in a high risk situation for catching Kennel Cough should be given a dose of the Intranasal Vaccine twice a year.

Bordetella Shots are also available to provide protection against kennel cough. This vaccine is usually given to dogs that might object to someone handling their muzzle, when there might be a danger of the dog biting. If administered to a puppy, it is recommended that the Bordetella Shot be repeated in four weeks to give maximum protection. An annual booster of the injectable vaccine is advised. Bordetella Shots will take longer to initiate an immune response in the dog than will the Intranasal
Bordetella Vaccine.

Many people choose to have their dog protected against Kennel Cough with the use of both the Intranasal Bordetella Vaccine and Bordetella Shots. Dogs that will be exposed to other dogs, such as in a long-term boarding situation or at dog shows might benefit from the protection offered by both vaccines. The dog owner should always keep in mind that both vaccines should be given every six months to a year to keep the immunological protection high.

Catnip n Biscuits requires your pet to be vaccinated via intranasal vaccination every 6 months. We will accept the injection only if it is less than six months old and your dog will need to have the intranasal vaccine before six months is up. We require dogs to have the vaccine two weeks in advance if it is the first time they are receiving the vaccine. If they have had the bordatella vaccine in the past, then they need to wait three days after the vaccine before coming back to the facility. We require vet records whenever a vaccine is updated.