Do I Need to Vaccinate my Dog for Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough is the common term for infectious tracheobronchitis, a highly contagious respiratory infection in dogs. It’s also referred to as Bordetella, because Bordetella bronchiseptica is the most common type of bacteria that causes canine kennel cough, and the vaccine to prevent kennel cough is referred to as the Bordetella vaccine.

What is kennel cough?

Canine tracheobronchitis is a disease that inflames a dog’s upper respiratory system. It actually refers collectively to several types of contagious respiratory infections. The inflammation causes a distinctive, loud, honking cough, as well as a runny nose, lethargy, and possibly fever. It is usually not fatal, but young puppies, older dogs, and any dogs with a compromised immune system are more at risk.

The bacteria and viruses that cause kennel cough are spread in the same way humans spread the flu: through droplets in the air (sneezing and breathing), direct contact, or touching contaminated surfaces (like food bowls or toys).

Are all dogs at risk for kennel cough?

Kennel cough is caused by various airborne bacteria and viruses that spread from dog to dog, so it most often affects dogs who are regularly boarded or groomed, visit dog parks, attend dog shows, go to training, or otherwise spend time near other dogs.

Does my dog need the Bordetella vaccine?

The Bordetella vaccine can prevent kennel cough. It is administered by vets as a squirt in the nose. Not all dogs need this vaccine, but we recommend it for social dogs and any dogs who will be boarded (most boarding facilities require proof of a recent Bordetella vaccine). Additionally, dogs with weaker immune systems (including senior dogs and young puppies) should get the vaccine.

Do I need to see a vet for kennel cough?

The symptoms of kennel cough are similar to many other respiratory diseases. It’s important to visit the vet if your dog is displaying these symptoms. Once a proper diagnosis is made, kennel cough is usually treated with rest and sometimes antibiotics (to prevent or treat secondary infections).

If you have questions about Bordetella, any other vaccines or if you’re concerned about your dog’s health, please schedule an appointment with our veterinarians in Woodruff today.

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