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Bordetella in Dogs: What is Kennel Cough?

Bordetella in Dogs: What is Kennel Cough?

The Bordetella virus, known as kennel cough, is a highly contagious disease among dogs. Our Toledo vets are here to educate about Bordetella in dogs, the Bordetella vaccination, and available treatments for kennel cough.

What Is Bordetella in Dogs?

Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacterium that is linked to respiratory disease in canines. It is sometimes referred to as kennel cough, upper respiratory infection, or infectious tracheobronchitis.

While Bordetella bacteria is not the only cause of kennel cough in dogs, it is the most common one.

How Do Dogs Get Bordetella?

Dogs are more likely to contract this virus and display signs of upper respiratory infection when in areas dense with other dogs, such as doggy daycare, the groomers, the dog park, and boarding facilities. Many boarding facilities require all dogs staying with them to be vaccinated against bordetella for this reason.

Dogs most often catch Bordetella by inhaling infection particles. When these particles make their way to the respiratory tract, windpipe or voice box can become inflamed.

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

The main symptom of Bordetella in your dog is a persistent, sometimes hoarse cough. Dog owners often say that this type of cough resembles a "honking goose." Veterinarians sometimes 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

One positive thing about Bordetella is that is will usually leave your pup without additional treatment. However, if you do bring your dog to your vet, they might prescribe antibiotics to help speed up recovery and limit additional infections. Always follow the full dosage of any medicine prescribed by your vet, even if your dog seems better after a few days. Especially when prescribed antibiotics, its important to use up the full amount your vet gives you.

Vaccines are also available to prevent Bordetella-related infections. These vaccinations are generally required if you ever need to board your pooch at the vet overnight.

Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs

The Bordetella vaccine protects dogs against this particular virus and will stop them from getting kennel cough. The intranasal version of the vaccine is typically administered yearly, although boarding facilities or hospitals may recommend it every six months.

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.

As with many vaccines, the benefits should be weighed against the risks before you decide to get it for your pup. Your veterinarian may advise against getting the Bordetella vaccine if your dog is immunocompromised, currently 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.

Does your dog need to get their Bordetella vaccine or booster? Contact our Toledo vets to book an appointment today.

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Shoreland Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our veterinary team is passionate about the health of Toledo pets and is looking forward to meeting you and your furry friend. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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