Monday, April 1, 2013

A-Z Challenge: B is for Bordatella

Welcome to the A-Z Challenge! My theme for this year is Pet Health - information for people about their furry, four-legged family members.

Bordatella is often referred to as "Kennel Cough". It's a highly infectious cough that would closely resemble the common cold in humans, with an annoyingly scratchy throat. Most boarding facilities will require this vaccine for your dog(s) before being allowed to board, and may vet offices will require it as well. Always check with whomever you're boarding your dog with for required vaccinations.

In kennel environments, this hacking cough can go 'round and 'round, as dogs can catch this virus from close contact with infected dogs or infected surfaces.

Symptoms include a dry, hacking cough that can often be followed by retching. In mild cases, dogs may still eat and play normally. In more severe cases, there may be nasal discharge, watery/goopy eyes, lethargy, fever, decreased appetite, and even pneumonia. While most cases of Kennel Cough tend to be mild, if you think your dog has been exposed to Kennel Cough, seek veterinary attention.

 If your dog gets its annual DHLPP vaccinations (Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, and Parvo), your dog already gets some protection as the influenza virus is one of the causes of Kennel Cough. It is also recommended that your dog receive a Bordatella vaccine, especially if you know your dog will be boarding, going to doggy-daycare, going to dog parks or will otherwise come into contact with other potentially unvaccinated dogs.

Several years ago, my parents were camping with friends and family, most of whom brought their dogs. About a week or so after the camping trip, one of the friends called my parents saying their dog had had Kennel Cough and she hadn't known it, and suggested they take their dogs to the vet as her dog had progressed to pneumonia. My parents called me about it and I told them that was one of the vaccines I always told them to get, but to call the vet and get the dogs another dose to be safe. The took the dogs to the vet and all were safe and sound. The lady had called everyone who had shown up with dogs. Luckily, no other dogs came down with it. Unfortunately, I can't remember if the lady's dog made it or not.

The Bordatella vaccine is typically an annual vaccine, but many boarding facilities will require it be given every 6 months because they don't want the risk of your pet getting sick. Giving the vaccine twice a year will not harm your pet. The most common method of vaccinating your dog is by giving the vaccine intranasally (up the nose), which creates a localized immunity, and no booster is required. If it's given as an injectable (under the skin), a booster 3-4 weeks later will be required for immunity.

Be aware that dogs that are given the intranasal vaccine can shed the virus for roughly 72 hours, and up to 4 days for full protection. For best protection, make sure dogs receive the vaccine at least one week prior to boarding, showing, etc.

If you're concerned your dog has been exposed to Kennel Cough, call your veterinarian. And when you get to the vet's office, leave your dog in the car (if possible) until your are signed in the staff is ready to take you into a room. Some offices may even have a side door for you and your dogs to enter through to avoid/lessen possible contamination/exposure of the front lobby.

My sources: Pet Health Network and Pet Education by Dr.'s Foster/Smith, plus my own experience working in large/small animal practices as well in a veterinary laboratory.


  1. And here I thought bordatella was a hotel where you could pick up loose women... no wait, that's bordello... I'm so confused...

  2. I knew this - I used to work at a vet :)


I love comments. Please leave one. :o)