Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs: What to Know and Benefits

Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs

Vaccines and vet visits are some of the most traumatizing experiences for dogs. We are sure you want to avoid head-aching vet bills, and the first step in doing this is regular dog vaccinations.

We all remember the COVID-19 crisis when we were desperate for a vaccine. Well, now you have every dog vaccine, so what are you waiting for?

You can kill many microorganisms with regular vaccination and keep your dog happy and healthy!

Stay with us, learn why we need a Bordetella vaccine for dogs, and learn more about its effectiveness!

Key Takeaways:

  • Bordetella vaccination can save your dog from life-threatening diseases.
  • Vaccination schedules for Bordetella depend on many factors, including the dog’s geolocation and risk exposure.
  • Prevention is the best cure! Preventing vaccination can protect your dog and save you a lot of money.
  • Please consult with your vet about their recommendation regarding the vaccine.

What is Bordetella in Dogs?

Bordetella is also known as kennel cough in dogs and is a serious respiratory disease in dogs. It starts with mild trachea inflammation and can progress to bronchopneumonia. Bordetella affects young and older dogs.

Dogs in close contact are especially at risk. This includes dogs that hang out in:

  • Veterinary hospitals
  • Dog parks
  • Doggy daycare
  • Dog training classes
  • Kennels
  • Boarding facilities
  • Groomer saloons

Even one infected dog coughing, sneezing, or barking can infect the whole doggy daycare. Because of its contagious effect, the Bordetella vaccine is recommended for dogs.

This disease has multiple etiologies. But Bordetella bronchiseptica is the most common and primary pathogen. According to studies from ScienceDirect, Mycoplasmas and Bordetella bronchiseptica cause severe life-threatening contagious and chronic respiratory diseases.

Dogs younger than six months are especially at risk. This bacteria might interfere with other bacteria and can lead to secondary infections.

More about Kennel Cough

Kennel cough in dogs manifests as a persistent cough, while in humans, it manifests as whooping cough. Some veterinarians explain the sound of the kennel cough as a “goose honk” that shows retching and gagging signs.

During the clinical examinations, the vet gently palpates the larynx or trachea to induce the cough. Experienced vets can make accurate diagnoses right away.

Other common signs of kennel cough are:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Anorexia
  • Depression
  • Productive cough
  • Decreased appetite
  • Watery eyes

The disease starts with clinical signs of an upper respiratory infection. It continues with more severe signs that indicate bronchopneumonia.

According to a study from Europe PMC, Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza virus SV-5 are the most common microorganisms that cause kennel cough.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Kennel Cough

As soon as you notice some unusual clinical signs in your dog, contact your vet and book an appointment.

The vet will take a look at the health history of your dog, perform blood tests, and ask for anamnesis. In some cases, an X-ray is required.

If you visit dog parks and the cough develops after 5-10 days, the chances of your dog having a kennel cough are very high. The kennel cough can persist for 10-20 days, but we advise immediate management from a professional.

An X-ray can determine the severity of the disease and may detect an alveolar disease. Some vets even take nasopharyngeal or tracheal swabs for laboratory analysis.

But how can you treat this disease?

Most dogs recover after antimicrobial and supportive therapy and don’t need hospitalization. Let us give you one tip! If your dog needs hospitalization, ask for isolation so you can prevent secondary infections.

Antibiotics such as doxycycline and amoxicillin can improve the health status of your dog. Also, antitussics are very helpful.

Bordetella Vaccination for Dogs

Bordetella vaccine is a noncore vaccine which is recommended for dogs in:

  • Dog daycare
  • Boarding facilities
  • Shelters

The bacterial Bordetella bronchiseptica is the most common cause of kennel cough in dogs, so vaccination is a very wise choice.

Kennel’s cough is highly contagious. Some facilities require dogs to have a Bordetella vaccination proof before entering a facility.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association guidelines for vaccines, there are several recommendations.

The Bordetella vaccine for dogs can be given in 3 ways:

  • Injectable bordetella vaccine: 2 doses; 2-4 weeks apart
  • Intranasal bordetella vaccine: single dose intranasally
  • Oral bordetella vaccine: Single dose into the buccal pouch

Receiving one dose of the Bordetella vaccine is not enough. Dogs need a Bordetella booster shot every 6-12 months, depending on the pet’s risk of exposure.

According to studies from ScienceDirect, mucosal or intranasal vaccines are given to use before boarding, dog shows, or other events that have high exposure risk.

Even healthy adult dogs can benefit from this vaccine if they come into contact with large groups of dogs.

According to DVM John A. Ellis, the administration of intranasal and injectable vaccines provides the best protection against a certain disease.

Most dogs won’t have any consequences due to the vaccine, however, some dogs show adverse vaccine reactions.

Side Effects of Vaccination against Bordetella

Vaccination in general is a very safe process for protecting your dog from various diseases. However, some owners may observe adverse reactions in their dogs right after vaccinations.

An adverse reaction typically occurs a few minutes after receiving the vaccine or up to 48 hours.

We will mention some of the most common side effects dogs can experience from Bordetella vaccine!

Lethargy and fever

We are sure that you had at least one vaccination in your life, and we challenge you to think about that experience for a while! You probably felt mild adverse reactions such as lethargy and dizziness, or you might have experienced a very mild fever. And that is completely normal.

Some dogs might feel the same after vaccination against kennel cough, but it is not a very concerning factor. This is just the dog’s immune system working as a response to the vaccination.

Allergic responses

A severe allergic reaction characterized by swelling and itchiness is a common sign that your dog doesn’t react well to the vaccine. Other signs connected with allergic responses include gastrointestinal issues (GI). GI issues include vomiting and diarrhea.

A serious adverse reaction, like difficulty breathing, requires immediate medical help and intervention. A proper dosage of antihistamines, adrenaline, and corticosteroids can save your dog’s life.

Cold-like symptoms

Nasal spray bordetella vaccination means administering the vaccine into your dog’s nose. This can lead to upper respiratory consequences, including coughing, runny nose, and sneezing.

These symptoms don’t last very long, but if you don’t notice an improvement, ask for help from your veterinarian.


Are there allergic reactions to the Bordetella dog vaccine?

In extremely rare cases, dogs have allergic consequences to the Bordetella dog vaccine.

A severe allergic reaction includes swelling, difficulty breathing, itching, and gastrointestinal issues. These signs should be managed as soon as possible. If your dog demonstrates these signs, contact your emergency veterinarian.

How often does a dog need a Bordetella shot?

Dogs need a Bordetella shot every 6-12 months, depending on your geolocation and the exposure risk. Dogs frequently in contact with other dogs have higher chances of getting a kennel cough. So they might need more frequent booster shots.

Is the “kennel cough vaccine” the same as the Bordetella vaccine?

Yes, some veterinarians use the term “kennel cough vaccine, ” which is the same as the Bordetella vaccine.

Can you cure Bordetella in dogs?

Yes, Bordetella in dogs can be treated if managed on time. But let us clarify a bit more.

Treating canine infectious tracheobronchitis is much easier than treating bronchopneumonia. So, manage the disease on time before the infection spreads to the whole respiratory tract.

To Sum Up

Being in contact with other dogs is an inseparable part of every dog, but this brings the risk of spreading infections. To avoid this, veterinarians suggest vaccination.

Vaccination against Bordetella can improve your dog’s overall health. It can also reduce the risk of serious respiratory diseases. But this also requires booster shots every 6-12 months.

As soon as you adopt a puppy, contact a veterinarian to advise you about the vaccination process. You can also get many useful tips about dog care.

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