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Bordetella in Dogs

Bordetella in Dogs

Bordetella is a harsh, dry cough that can cause your dog a great deal of discomfort. Here, our Franklin vets discuss the causes, signs, treatment, and prevention of Bordetella in dogs.

Bordetella/Kennel Cough in Dogs

Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacteria closely associated with respiratory disease in our dogs. This is one of the components of the canine infectious respiratory complex (more commonly called kennel cough), upper respiratory infections, and/or infectious tracheobronchitis.

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

Causes of Bordetella

Dogs who will be coming into close contact with other dogs through situations and services such as dog parks, boarding facilities, daycare, and groomers are much more likely to come into contact with this infection and develop signs of upper respiratory illness.

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:

  • Colder temperatures
  • Exposure to dust or smoke
  • Stress (often brought on by travel issues)
  • Staying in a poorly ventilated living space (such as certain kennels)

Signs of Bordetella in Dogs

The symptoms of Bordetella infections in dogs primarily appear as a persistent cough. Dog parents will often say that the sound of the cough may resemble the honking of a goose. Vets will also sometimes call this 'reverse sneezing.'

Some other symptoms of Bordetella infections in dogs include:

  • Fever
  • Eye discharge
  • Less of an appetite
  • A consistently runny nose

Treating Bordetella in Dogs

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 cella 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 your dog due for their Bordetella vaccine? Contact our Franklin vets to book an appointment for your pup.

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