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Bordetella in Dogs

Bordetella in Dogs

If your dog visits a groomer or needs to be boarded at a facility while you are away, they will require protection from a highly contagious disease called the Bordetella virus. Here, our Gilbert vets explain more about Bordetella in dogs.

What Is Bordetella in Dogs?

Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacteria that is very closely connected with the development of respiratory disease in dogs. It is one of the components of kennel cough, clinically known as the canine infectious respiratory complex, upper respiratory infections 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 means by which a dog catches Bordetella is by inhaling bacterial particles. The particles make their way into your pooch's respiratory tract, inflaming your dog's windpipe and 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)

Symptoms of Bordetella in Dogs

The symptoms of Bordetella infections in dogs primarily manifest as persistent coughing. Dog parents often describe this cough to us as being like the honking noise that a goose makes. Vets will also sometimes call this "reverse sneezing."

Some other symptoms of Bordetella infections in dogs include:

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

Treatments for Dogs With Bordetella

There is good news! Bordetella, in many cases, will go away on its own without any veterinary treatment being required. However, if you do bring your pup in to see your vet, your companion may be prescribed with antibiotics to speed their recovery. Always ensure that you 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 an injection or via nose drops.

Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs

The Bordetella vaccine for dogs protects against this specific illness and is widely available for your dog to stay safe from kennel cough. You may have also heard it called a "kennel cough vaccine." The intranasal version of this vaccine is generally administered once each yer, but some boarding facilities ask that dogs be treated with 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. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Has your dog gotten their Bordetella vaccinations updated to help keep them safe from kennel cough? Contact Crossroads Veterinary Hospital today to make sure that your pup is protected from this troublesome illness.

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