What You Need to Know About the Kennel Cough Vaccine
If you take your dog to a day care or regularly house them in an overnight dog hotel, then you probably have heard of the bordetella vaccine, also known as the kennel cough vaccine.
Bordetella is a “noncore vaccine” (also known as unrequired) vaccine that is given to dogs that are frequently among other dogs. It’s often required by canine facilities like dog daycare centers, dog parks, boarding kennels, dog shows, and group training classes before your dog can attend them
The Bordetella vaccine is meant to protect against bordetalla bronchiseptica. Which causes inflammation in the upper respiratory system. This inflammation leads to what we know as kennel cough disease and other secondary infections.
Kennel cough itself is a term used to encompass many highly contagious respiratory diseases common among large groups of dogs socializing and boarding together. It spreads through aerosol droplets, which can contain toys, bowls, food, and the air your dog breathes. While it is non-fatal, it can lead to long-term health complications for puppies and senior dogs.
You can often tell that your dog has kennel cough based on their loud, honk-like cough. While that is the most distinctive symptom, infected dogs also suffer from:
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Loss of appetite
If you believe that your dog has kennel cough, make an appointment with your vet immediately. The symptoms are similar to canine distemper and canine influenza virus, which are much more serious illnesses. Additionally, your vet may want to have your dog be brought into their office a certain way to avoid exposing other dogs.
Despite its contagious nature, kennel cough is very treatable. Your dog may be prescribed rest, cough medicine, and antibiotics. The treatment may be more aggressive if you have a puppy, senior dog, or an immunocompromised dog, as kennel cough could potentially lead to worse long-term problems.
Should I Get My Dog the Bordetella Vaccine?
Despite being a noncore vaccine, it’s generally recommended that your dog gets it if they are often in contact with other dogs, whether that be on a farm, in the household, or out in public at dog parks, daycare, or boarding facilities, and training classes. All of these put them at risk of contracting kennel cough.
Generally, dogs need the bordetella vaccine annually with some facilities requiring one that was administered less than six months ago. Ask your veterinarian what your options should be.
Additionally, while there are no harmful side effects to the vaccine, your veterinarian may recommend holding off if your dog is immunocompromised, sick, or pregnant. Like with humans, any of these conditions can lead to your dog suffering from an adverse reaction to the vaccine.