Taking your puppy to the vet can feel overwhelming, especially when they haven’t had all of their vaccinations yet. During an initial visit, your veterinarian will likely go over your pup’s current physical condition, nutritional guidelines, and a list of recommended vaccines. With all this new information, details about the certain immunizations, including the Bordetella vaccine, may get swept under the rug. Keep reading to learn more about the Bordetella vaccine for dogs so you can make an informed decision about immunizing your pet.
The Bordetella vaccine is a non-core vaccine meaning is it not always required for pets. However, many kennels, doggy daycares, dog parks, training classes, and canine boarding facilities require dogs to get the Bordetella vaccine before they are allowed in. The immunization is given to canines that will frequently be surrounded by other dogs because Bordetella bronchiseptica is the most common type of bacteria that causes kennel cough.
What is Bordetella Bronchiseptica?
Bordetella bronchiseptica is a type of bacteria that cause infectious bronchitis in dogs and other animals. The bacteria initially creates inflammation in a dog’s upper respiratory system which can lead to chronic coughing or critical illness. In addition, Bordetella can make your pet susceptible to secondary infections. Most people, including vets, don’t refer to the disease as Bordetella bronchiseptica. It is commonly referred to as kennel cough in dogs which contributes to some confusion among pet owners regarding the Bordetella vaccine.
What are the Symptoms of Bordetella in Dogs?
Any breed of dog can catch Bordetella. For most canines, Bordetella will be a somewhat mild illness. However, if puppies or dogs with other health conditions are infected, the disease can lead to serious sickness and, in some rare cases, death. Symptoms of Bordetella will usually diminish within two weeks of exposure.
If your pup catches Bordetella, you may notice that they are persistently coughing, hacking, or gagging to the point where it may seem like there is something stuck in their throat. A Bordetella cough is sometimes described as sounding like a honking noise. This is a sign of an inflamed trachea which can be very uncomfortable for your pet. Your dog may also have a fever or exhibit extreme lethargy with Bordetella. In some cases, symptoms will include sneezing, loss of appetite, and nasal discharge.
For mild Bordetella cases in dogs, symptoms will typically resolve within one to two weeks or will be so nominal that they are unnoticeable. In more critical cases of infection, Bordetella symptoms will take much longer to subside.
Bordetella symptoms are similar to those associated with canine influenza and canine distemper which are more severe illnesses. Be sure to consult your vet and go over your dog’s symptoms with them. While it is possible to test dogs for Bordetella, diagnosis is usually based on previous exposure to infected animals in addition to symptoms of the illness.
What Is Kennel Cough?
Kennel cough (or canine infectious tracheobronchitis) refers to a number of contagious respiratory illnesses common to dogs. It is typically spread among canines in kennels or other confined settings which is how the condition got its name. Kennel cough is not a fatal illness, but it can lead to bronchopneumonia and chronic bronchitis which can be lethal for dogs. The disease is spread among animals through direct physical contact, through air or liquid particles, or contact with contaminated objects.
Although kennel cough is very contagious among dogs, it is generally easy to treat. Upon diagnosis, your vet may recommend a few weeks of rest for your pet as well as cough medicine. In some cases, antibiotics might be prescribed to prevent secondary infections. More comprehensive treatment may be administered for puppies, older dogs, or pets with other underlying health conditions.
Is the Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs Necessary?
Because of the highly contagious nature of kennel cough and other diseases caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica, your dog will be at risk if they are in close quarters with other canines. Since many animal facilities require dogs to have the Bordetella vaccination, it’s a good idea to get your pet up-to-date with immunizations so they can participate in social activities.
Facilities that generally require the Bordetella vaccine in dogs include:
- Dog parks
- Doggy daycares
- Dog shows
- Obedience schools
- Dog groomers
To find out if your dog needs the Bordetella vaccine, consult a veterinarian. If your pet spends most of his time inside and is rarely around other dogs, ask your vet for their opinion on whether your pup is at risk for contracting Bordetella.
What are the Risks & Side Effects of the Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs?
As with any pet medication, side effects and risks are always a possibility. Luckily, dog vaccinations are usually a safe procedure. In general, the benefits of immunizing your pet outweigh any risks. However, if your dog is pregnant, immunocompromised, or has a chronic health condition, your vet may recommend forgoing the Bordetella vaccine.
Side effects associated with the Bordetella vaccine include:
- Soreness at the injection site
- Nasal discharge
- Low fever
- Appetite loss
These side effects are common for dogs after receiving almost any type of vaccination. If the symptoms last longer than a few days or include some rare side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, or difficulty breathing, consult your veterinarian.
Can Humans Catch Bordetella from Their Pets?
Bordetella bacteria is usually spread among dogs, but the infection can also reach cats, rodents, rabbits, and, in rare cases, people. Humans are susceptible to catching Bordetella pertussis (whooping cough) which is a chronic cough that can be treated with a whole-cell pertussis vaccine or acellular vaccines.
How Much Does the Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs Cost?
Fortunately, the Bordetella vaccine for dogs is affordable for pet owners. The vaccination generally costs between $10 and $15 for a single shot or around $20 for a series of two shots. The Bordetella vaccine may even be available for purchase at some pet stores making it convenient for owners to get their dogs vaccinated.
How Long Does Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs Last?
The duration of effectiveness for Bordetella vaccination depends on how much time your dog spends with other pets. It is usually recommended that healthy dogs who get a lot of socialization get vaccinated for Bordetella at least once per year. Some kennels will require a booster shot within six months of the dog’s stay.
The Bordetella vaccine can be administered to puppies as young as three weeks old through their nose. A follow-up dose is usually given a few weeks later. At eight weeks old, puppies can receive the injectable Bordetella vaccination with a booster shot around twelve weeks.
Most Common Vaccinations for Dogs
Immunizations are designed to protect pets from several different diseases. Although shots are the most common method of vaccinating dogs, modern vaccines are available to be administered through the nose, mouth, or eyes.
In addition to Bordetella, the most common injectable vaccinations for dogs include:
Due to advancements in modern veterinary medicine, vaccines are now available in to be administered through the eyes, mouth, and nose. Each vaccination method has its own pros and cons but intranasal (through the nose) is a popular vaccination method for puppies.
Because intranasal vaccines are not injectable, they will not contribute to muscle soreness and can be administered to young animals. Nasal vaccinations also provide expedited protection from Bordetella because it enters a dog through the upper respiratory system. Nasal vaccines may not protect animals that have already been exposed to Bordetella. This method works best for puppies and pets that have not been vaccinated yet. Side effects from intranasal dog vaccines can include a mild fever, sneezing, or coughing. These symptoms will typically subside within a few days.
Treatment for Bordetella in Dogs
Bordetella and other mild bacterial infections in dogs will usually resolve on their own. If your pet contracts kennel cough and a subsequent infection occur, a vet may prescribe antibiotics as a precaution. Treatment for Bordetella in dogs may also involve inhalant medications or a cough suppressant.
If your dog has a respiratory infection, harnesses are recommended in place of traditional collars. A collar puts pressure on their irritated throat area which can be painful and lead to increased coughing.
Preventing Bordetella in Dogs
Spending time in kennels and other boarding facilities can be stressful on dogs. As a result, their immune system may take a toll which will make your pet more susceptible to various illnesses. Furthermore, bacterial infections such as Bordetella are easily spread in crowded kennels.
Immunizations can protect your pooch from kennel cough and other diseases caused by Bordetella. Although the Bordetella vaccine is not required for every dog, it is often recommended for pets who spend a lot of time around other animals.
Bordetella bronchiseptica is the most common cause of kennel cough, but it is not the only one. Other viruses and bacteria can lead to kennel cough as well. Unfortunately, this means that even vaccinated pups can contract the disease from another source. It’s important for owners to learn about the symptoms of kennel cough even if their pet has been vaccinated. Your vet will be able to advise you on which types of vaccinations are best for your dog.