What is Bordetella in Dogs?
Bordetella bronchiseptica is one of the components of the canine infectious respiratory complex, sometimes referred to as kennel cough, infectious tracheobronchitis or upper respiratory infection. The bacterium is closely related to respiratory disease in dogs.
What is Kennel Cough in Dogs?
Kennel cough is another term for Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis. This respiratory disease is caused by the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica and the canine parainfluenza virus that attacks the lining of a dog's respiratory tract, leading to inflammation and irritation.
How Do Dogs Get Bordetella?
Dogs often have ample opportunity to interact with other dogs - including at the groomers, doggy day care, boarding facilities and the dog park. They are also more likely to come into contact with the virus at these places and develop signs of an upper respiratory infection.
Inhaling bacterial particles is the most common way for dogs to contract Bordetella. These particles can then make their way to the respiratory tract and cause your dog to experience an inflamed windpipe or voice box.
Certain circumstances can increase the chances of a dog catching diseases caused b the bacterium. These include the following:
- Stress (often brought on by travel issues)
- Colder temperatures
- Staying in a poorly ventilated living space (such as certain kennels)
- Exposure to smoke or dust
Symptoms of Bordetella in Dogs
When it comes to identifying Bordetella in dogs, veterinarians will look for symptoms such as a persistent cough. The sound of the cough may resemble the honking noise a goose would make. Vets sometimes call this "reverse sneezing."
Other signs of Bordetella infections in dogs include:
- Discharge from the eyes
- Reduced appetite
- A consistently runny nose
Treatments for Dogs with Bordetella
The good news is that many cases of Bordetella will go away on their own without any additional treatment. But if you do bring your dog to your vet, they might prescribe antibiotics to help speed up recovery. 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 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.
Bordetella Vaccine Side Effects in Dogs
Similar to vaccinations in people, mild adverse reactions can occur as a result of vaccinations. While it can be stressful to watch your dog suffer from side effects, vaccine reactions are generally mild and short-lived. Keep in mind that your dog will be safer and healthier having been vaccinated.
The most common sides effect dogs can experience from the Bordetella vaccination include sneezing and cold-like symptoms, lumps and bumps, and lethargy.
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, and they will discuss the risks and benefits of the vaccine for dogs with a previous history of vaccine reactions.
If Your Dog is Coughing After the Bordetella Vaccination
Generally, vaccination reactions are mild and short in duration. If your dog exhibits any of the side effects detailed above, including a persistent cough for more than one or two days, contact your veterinarian to get medical care for your pooch. In rare extreme situations, dogs can develop a serious adverse reaction to the vaccine that needs immediate veterinary care.
Potential Allergic Reactions to the Bordetella Vaccine
In very rare cases dogs can have an anaphylactic response to the Bordetella vaccination. This is a severe allergic reaction in dogs characterized by swelling in the face, hives, vomiting, issues breathing, diarrhea, and itchiness.
This reaction typically occurs within a few minutes or hours of your dog receiving the vaccine but it can occur as late as forty-eight hours following vaccination. If your dog is showing any of the symptoms of anaphylaxis after receiving the Bordetella vaccine, contact your emergency veterinarian as soon as possible.
How Long is the Bordetella Vaccine Good For in Dogs?
While some dogs may not be eligible for the vaccine, others should get vaccinated before being boarded or spending time in a setting among other dogs.
Depending on how the vaccine is administered, puppies can receive their first vaccination between 6 and 8 weeks old. Dogs should receive a second booster 4 weeks later. After the age of 16 weeks, dogs only need one vaccination if they've not received any initial doses.
Adult dogs should get an annual Bordetella vaccine, depending on their risks and requirements. If you plan to enroll your dog in classes or board them, you may be required to have them boosted every 6 months.
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.