If your dog goes to the groomer or needs to be boarded at a facility while you go out of town, it will need to be protected from the highly contagious Bordetella virus. Our Natick vets are here to tell you all about it.
What Is Bordetella in Dogs?
Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacterium that is closely related to respiratory disease in dogs. It is one of the components of the canine infectious respiratory complex, sometimes referred to as kennel cough, upper respiratory infection, or infectious tracheobronchitis.
Bordetella is the most common cause of kennel cough in dogs.
How Do Dogs Get Bordetella?
Dogs who will be in areas where they may come into contact with other dogs such as doggy daycare, the groomers, the dog park, and boarding facilities, are more likely to come into contact with this virus and develop signs of an upper respiratory infection.
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:
- Staying in a poorly ventilated living space (such as certain kennels)
- Colder temperatures
- Exposure to dust or smoke
- Stress (often brought on by travel issues)
Symptoms of Bordetella in Dogs
Symptoms of Bordetella infections in dogs primarily manifest as a persistent cough. Dog parents often say that the sound of the cough can resemble the noise a honking goose makes. Vets sometimes call this “reverse sneezing.”
Some other symptoms of Bordetella infections in dogs include:
- Eye discharge
- Less of an appetite
- A consistently runny nose
Treatments for Dogs With Bordetella
The good news is that many cases of Bordetella will go away on their own without any additional treatment. But if you do bring your dog to your vet, they might prescribe antibiotics to help speed up recovery. Always follow the full dosage of any medicine prescribed by your vet.
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 this specific virus and is widely available to keep your dog safe from kennel cough. You may have heard it called the “kennel cough vaccine.” The intranasal version of the vaccine is typically administered annually, although boarding facilities or 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 must be weighed against any risks. Your veterinarian may advise against getting the Bordetella vaccine if your dog is immunocompromised, sick, or pregnant, and they will discuss the risks and benefits of the vaccine for dogs with a previous history of vaccine reactions.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.