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What is Bordetella in Dogs?

If your dog needs grooming or boarding at a facility while you're away, it must be protected against the highly contagious Bordetella (Kennel Cough) virus. Our vets in Bellevue are here to provide all the information you need.

What Is Kennel Cough (Bordetella) in Dogs?

Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacterium linked to canine respiratory disease. It is part of the canine infectious respiratory complex, also known 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 that visit places where they may encounter other dogs, such as doggy daycare, groomers, dog parks, and boarding facilities, are more likely to contract the Bordetella virus and develop symptoms of an upper respiratory infection. Dogs catch Bordetella mainly by inhaling bacterial particles, which can lead to an inflamed windpipe or voice box.

Certain situations can increase the chances of a dog catching diseases caused by the bacterium, including 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

Bordetella infections in dogs are characterized by a persistent cough. Dog owners say the coughing may sound similar to a honking goose. Veterinarians refer to this as "reverse sneezing."

Some other symptoms of Bordetella infections in dogs include:

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

Treatments for Dogs With Bordetella

The good news is that many Bordetella cases will resolve on their own without the need for further treatment. If you take your dog to the vet, they may prescribe antibiotics to help him recover faster. Always take the total dose of any medication prescribed by your veterinarian.

Vaccines are also available to prevent infections. Your vet can administer vaccines against these diseases by injection or nose drops.

Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs

The Bordetella vaccine for dogs protects against a specific virus and is widely available to keep your dog safe from kennel cough, which is also known as 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 visits dog parks, boarding facilities, dog daycare, training classes, or dog shows, they are at risk of contracting Bordetella.

Many of these facilities require dogs to have proof of Bordetella vaccination, so getting the vaccine is in your dog's best interest for their health and extracurricular activities. 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 to avoid side effects. 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. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Does your dog need its Bordetella vaccination updated? Bring it to the vets at Aerowood Animal Hospital today to ensure its protection from this nasty virus. 

New Patients Welcome

At Aerowood Animal Hospital, we are always accepting new patients. Our experienced veterinary team is passionate about the health of companion animals in the Bellevue area and can't wait to welcome you and your pet to our veterinary family.

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Contact (425) 746-6557