If your pup goes to the groomer or needs to be boarded at a facility while you are away, they will need to be protected from the highly contagious Bordetella virus. Our Cincinnati vets are here to tell you all about it.
What Is Bordetella in Dogs?
Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacterium that is linked to canine respiratory disease. It is part of the canine infectious respiratory complex, which is also known as kennel cough, upper respiratory infection, or infectious tracheobronchitis.
Bordetella is the most common cause of kennel cough in dogs.
How Do Dogs Get Bordetella?
Dogs who visit places where they may come into contact with other dogs, such as doggy daycare, groomers, dog parks, and boarding facilities, are more likely to contract this virus and develop upper respiratory symptoms.
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 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
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 take the full dose of any medication prescribed by your veterinarian.
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.” The intranasal version of the vaccine is typically administered annually, 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.
Vaccinations are generally very safe, but the benefits must be balanced against any risks. If your dog is immunocompromised, sick, or pregnant, your veterinarian may advise against getting the Bordetella vaccine, and they will discuss the risks and benefits of the vaccine for dogs who have a 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.