Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs
The Bordetella vaccine is administered to dogs and cats that are frequently in contact with other pets and animals at facilities including boarding kennels, doggy daycare centers, dog and cat shows, professional groomers, training classes and dog parks.
This non-core vaccine protects against Bordetella bronchiseptica, the most common bacteria responsible for what’s known as kennel cough in dogs, which is transmitted canine-to-canine. Bordetella bronchiseptica causes infectious tracheobronchitis, which is more commonly referred to as kennel cough.
What are common symptoms of kennel cough?
The Bordetella bacteria can also combine with other viruses and weaken the mucus coating lining the respiratory tract, putting the trachea (windpipe) and larynx (voice box) at risk for inflammation.
Think of kennel cough as a dog’s version of the human cold. Common symptoms of kennel cough include:
- Persistent coughing (loud hacking or honking)
- Runny nose
- Discharge from eyes
- Mild or low-grade fever (occasionally)
While it sounds frightening, kennel cough isn’t life-threatening and it is treatable. It is also a vaccine-preventable disease.
The condition is common and contagious, which is why it’s important for dogs that spend time around other animals to receive the vaccination.
That said, you’d obviously rather your dog not catch any kind of illness while they are at a boarding facility or doggy daycare. This is why we recommend most puppies get the non-core Bordetella vaccination.
How long does Bordetella last in dogs?
If the Bordetella bacteria is the sole cause of your dog’s illness, symptoms will typically last about 10 days or so. However, most often Bordetella is not the only cause of kennel cough.
An infection from Bordetella bronchiseptica also puts a dog at risk for other infections. In most cases, the Bordetella bacteria has combined with another infectious virus (such as the parainfluenza virus) to cause kennel cough. Other infectious viruses include canine herpes, canine reovirus, canine adenovirus or canine distemper.
How often does a dog need a bordetella shot?
Ask your veterinarian how often your dog will need the Bordetella vaccine. Our standard schedule recommends puppies receive the shot at 10 to 12 weeks old, with subsequent boosters at 14 to 16 weeks and 12 to 16 months, even though it’s non-core.
The effectiveness of the vaccine and how long it will last can vary depending on how often your dog is exposed to other dogs or how much time he or she spends in dog parks, kennels, doggy daycare or other public places.
If your dog rarely interacts with other dogs or stays in your house, ask your veterinarian whether the Bordetella vaccine is necessary.
Are there potential reactions or side effects of the Bordetella vaccine for dogs?
Many pet owners wonder about the side effects of bordetella dog vaccinations. Most vaccines have potential side effects, including this one. Potential common side effects of the bordetella vaccine in dogs include:
- Low-grade Fever
- Loss of appetite
If your dog is coughing after having the bordetella vaccine or experiencing other common side effects listed above, these are normal and typically occur within 24 hours of being vaccinated. They usually last for one to two days. If your dog experiences these symptoms, monitor him closely and ensure he drinks water.
Rarely, a dog experiences an allergic reaction due to the vaccine, which can happen within minutes or hours of the vaccination and may include difficulty breathing, diarrhea, vomiting and possible collapse. You may notice hives, or swelling in the face or body. The dog may hide due to the reaction and resist moving. If your dog experiences these side effects, call your vet, who can treat the symptoms.
What else should I know about the Bordetella vaccine?
The Bordetella vaccine is manufactured by Pfizer using a form of the bacteria. It may not be 100 percent effective if your dog is sick or stressed at the time of vaccination.
Some dogs should not receive the vaccine, including:
- Dogs that have been ill recently or have medical issues or known allergies or previous reactions to the vaccine
- Puppies less than 8 weeks old
- Pregnant or nursing dogs, or those intended for breeding
- Dogs that have recently been around other sick dogs
Kennel cough can be a confusing topic, even for seasoned dog owners, so don’t feel bad if you are confused or have more questions. Our vets in Mamaroneck are happy to address any questions or concerns you may have about this or other vaccines.
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.