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Bordetella in Dogs

If your dog needs to visit the groomer for a touchup or will be staying at a boarding facility while you are out of town, your vet has likely mentioned the need to protect your dog from Bordetella. Today, our Mandeville vets share some facts about this contagious disease. 

What is Bordetella in dogs?

Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacterial component of the canine infectious respiratory complex (often called kennel cough), upper respiratory infections, and/or infectious tracheobronchitis. It is closely linked to respiratory disease in dogs. 

The most common cause of kennel cough in dogs is Bordetella. 

How do dogs get Bordetella?

Does your dog interact with other dogs at daycare, dog parks, boarding facilities, or groomers? If so, they are at much higher risk of becoming infected and developing symptoms of upper respiratory illness. 

The most common way dogs catch Bordetella is by inhaling bacterial particles. These particles make their way into the upper respiratory tract, then move to the windpipe or voice box and trigger inflammation. 

Certain circumstances can increase the risk of a dog catching diseases caused by the bacterium. These include the following:

  • Stress (which often comes on when travelling) 
  • Staying in a poorly ventilated living space (such as certain kennels)
  • Exposure to dust or smoke 
  • Colder temperatures 

Symptoms of Bordetella in Dogs

Dogs with Bordetella will often develop a persistent cough that their parents may compare to the sound of a goose's honk. Vets will also often sometimes call this 'reverse sneezing'. 

Other symptoms of Bordetella infections in dogs include:

  • Fever
  • A consistently runny nose 
  • Reduced appetite 
  • Discharge from the eyes 

The good news is that in many cases, Bordetella should resolve itself on its own without any additional treatments. However, if you do bring your dog in to see your vet, they may prescribe them antibiotics to help speed their recovery. Always follow the full dosage instructions provided by your vet for any dog antibiotics.

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

The Bordetella vaccine for dogs protects against a specific virus and is widely available to help keep your dog safe from kennel cough. It may also be called the 'kennel cough vaccination.' The intranasal version of this vaccine is generally administered annually, although boarding facilities and 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 usually very safe, but the benefits of vaccinations should be weighed against the infrequent risks associated with them. Your vet may advise against the Bordetella vaccine if your dog is pregnant, immunocompromised, or sick and will speak with you about any risks that may be associated with a previous history of vaccines.

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.

Is it time for your dog to come in for their Bordetella vaccination? Contact our Mandeville vets today to book an appointment and protect your dog against this virus. 

New Patients Welcome

At Riverside Veterinary Hospital, we are always accepting new patients. Our veterinary team is passionate about the health and well-being of companion animals in Mandeville. Book your first appointment today.

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