Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs: Safeguarding Your Dog from Bordetella

Medical articles

Is your dog's social life more active than yours? Dog parks, doggy daycare, training classes – it seems like your furry friend is constantly on the go, making new pals and soaking up all the tail-wagging fun. While these social adventures are enriching for your pup, they can also come with a not-so-fun souvenir: kennel cough. 

This contagious respiratory illness can turn those playful barks into hacking coughs and put a damper on your dog's social butterfly spirit. But there's good news! The Bordetella vaccine can be a valuable tool for keeping your pup healthy and their social calendar uninterrupted. 

Bordetella in Dogs: What is Kennel Cough? 

Kennel cough, also known as Bordetella bronchiseptica, is a highly contagious respiratory illness in dogs. It can spread rapidly in environments where dogs are in close contact, transmitted through direct contact, airborne droplets, or contaminated surfaces such as food and water bowls, toys, or kennel spaces. Symptoms of Bordetella can range from mild to severe and may include: 

  • A distinctive honking cough 

  • Gagging and sneezing 

  • Nasal discharge 

  • Lethargy and decreased appetite 

  • Fever 

While kennel cough can often be treated with antibiotics, cough suppressants, and rest, prevention through vaccination is a key component of protecting your dog's health. This is especially important if your dog frequently interacts with other dogs or spends time in boarding facilities. In fact, many doggy daycares and training facilities require proof of Bordetella vaccination for enrollment. 

Although kennel cough is usually not life-threatening in healthy adult dogs, it can lead to more severe conditions like bronchopneumonia or chronic bronchitis, particularly in puppies, senior dogs, or immunocompromised dogs. 

Bordetella Vaccine  

Fortunately, a vaccine is available for Bordetella bronchiseptica. It may also be called a Bordetella shot or kennel cough vaccine. Sometimes Bordetella vaccines are combined with parainfluenza virus vaccines to protect dogs for multiple types of respiratory tract infections at the same time. The Bordetella vaccine can be administered in three ways: orally, intranasally (in the nose), or subcutaneously (injection under the skin). 

It is important to note that while the Bordetella vaccine is highly effective, it does not provide 100% protection against kennel cough. Other viruses and bacteria, such as the parainfluenza virus, can also contribute to respiratory infections in dogs. 

Bordetella Vaccine Schedule  

The frequency of Bordetella vaccination depends on your dog's risk factors and lifestyle. In general, the intranasal vaccine provides protection for at least one year. The duration of immunity for subcutaneous and oral vaccines may vary, so some veterinarians recommend boostering every six months for optimal protection, particularly for dogs frequently exposed to other dogs in boarding or social settings. 

Puppies can receive the Bordetella vaccine as early as three to four weeks of age, but most veterinarians prefer to start the series at eight weeks or older. For intranasal and oral vaccines, a single dose may be sufficient, followed by annual boosters. If the subcutaneous vaccine is used, puppies will need a booster 2-4 weeks after the initial shot, then yearly vaccinations thereafter. Some veterinarians may also recommend a booster for oral or intranasal vaccines 2-4 weeks after the first dose. Discuss these details with your veterinarian to determine the optimal vaccination schedule for your puppy

Adult dogs typically receive either a single yearly vaccine or two doses given 2-4 weeks apart, followed by annual boosters. The frequency of vaccination for adult dogs depends on factors such as the dog's risk level and lifestyle. Dogs that frequently participate in activities such as boarding, dog park visits, or training classes may require more frequent vaccination, such as every six months. 

Bordetella Vaccine Cost  

The cost of the Bordetella vaccine varies based on factors such as your location, the specific vaccine formulation (with or without parainfluenza), and the route of administration, though it typically falls in the $15-$45 range. Additional costs may apply if your dog requires a physical examination along with the vaccination. To get an accurate estimate, contact your veterinary clinic for pricing information and recommendations tailored to your dog's individual needs and environment. 

Bordetella Vaccine Side Effects  

While serious side effects from the Bordetella vaccine are rare, mild reactions can occur. The intranasal vaccine may occasionally cause temporary symptoms similar to kennel cough, which typically resolve without treatment. Sneezing or reverse sneezing (a honking noise) is a common and harmless reaction to the intranasal vaccine that usually subsides quickly. Subcutaneous injections may result in pain at the injection site. 

In rare cases, dogs may experience a more severe vaccine reaction, which can be life-threatening. Symptoms may include facial swelling, hives, or red splotches on the stomach and chest. If you observe these signs, contact your veterinarian or local emergency clinic immediately for guidance. 

If you suspect your dog has kennel cough, it is essential to notify your veterinarian about the symptoms before bringing them in for an examination. This allows the clinic to take appropriate precautions to prevent the spread of the disease to other dogs in the facility. 

Pet Insurance and Wellness Plans  

Investing in pet insurance that covers accidents and illnesses can provide peace of mind and financial protection in case your dog develops kennel cough or other health issues. Dog insurance offers coverage for unexpected veterinary expenses, including diagnostic tests, medications, and treatments related to infectious diseases like kennel cough. 

In addition to accident and illness coverage, some pet insurance providers offer optional wellness plans that cover preventive care, such as vaccinations, routine check-ups, and dental cleanings. These plans can help you budget for the costs of keeping your dog up-to-date on essential preventive care, including the Bordetella vaccine. 

When considering pet insurance, it is important to research and compare different providers and plans to find the best fit for your dog's needs and your budget. Look for a reputable company with a track record of excellent customer service, clear policy terms, and timely reimbursements. 

Protect Your Furry Friend with the Bordetella Vaccine 

Even if your dog isn't a social butterfly, kennel cough can spread through seemingly innocuous contact with infected surfaces. Vaccination offers an essential layer of protection for all dogs, regardless of their lifestyle. Talk to your veterinarian today about creating a personalized vaccination plan tailored to your dog's age, breed, and activity level. 

Keeping your dog healthy is a top priority for any loving pet parent. After all, you want them to experience all life's adventures, big or small, by your side. By protecting them from Bordetella, you're giving them the freedom to enjoy playtime with other pups at the dog park or cuddle sessions on the couch – all without the worry of illness interrupting their fun.