Time for some vet talk. Bordetella vaccinations – are they necessary? We get this question frequently when we private board dogs in our homes.
Bordetella vaccinations are to protect against several different bacteria and virus, the most common being the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica (named after, of course). The true name for the resulting contagious virus is Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIRD). Unfortunately for the dog boarding industry, the resulting illness is referred to as “Kennel Cough”. SO UNTRUE. Your dog can literally pick this up anywhere. Why don’t we just relabel a child’s cold “DAYCARE DISEASE”? CIRD is environmental and can be picked up anywhere dogs cross paths (visit to the vet, walking your dog in Home Depot, the local pet store, the groomer, a playdate with your neighbor’s dog). It can be passed from dog to dog like a cold with Kindergarteners.
The Symptoms of CIRD
- A harsh and persistent barking cough that sounds a little like a sick seal
- Fits of coughing that can cause them to retch (maybe spitting up a bit of fluid, but not vomiting)
- Nasal discharge
Most dogs get a mild case within 3-10 days of exposure and can clear it on their own given some time. You don’t notice any significant changes in their activity level or eating. Severe cases can progress to a bacterial infection in the respiratory system that develops into pneumonia. Your veterinarian will likely prescribe a cough suppressant and an antibiotic to prevent a bacterial infection.
Bordetella vaccinations are similar to the flu vaccine – they certainly aren’t 100% effective and your dog may still develop CIRD, but it will likely be less severe than if they had not been vaccinated.
MOST of all – isolate your dog to prevent any spread until all symptoms are gone! Notify the potential source so they can review their sanitation protocols. Be kind. No one wants a CIRD outbreak. The majority of facilities have excellent protocols that there are careful to follow, but this is one of the inconvenient risks to dog socialization.
It is a required vaccine at all dog facilities in the state of Missouri and commonly required throughout the US. So yes, to answer the initial question, it is necessary for the health of your dog!
For more information you can review Kennel Cough in Dogs
Janie founded 4-Legged Kids, Inc in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1997 and provides education through her PetBizHIVE podcast and her PetBizMBA membership and courses. She is a Certified Professional Animal Care Operator, Fear Free certified and a Certified Professional Pet Sitter. Learn more about the Founder, Janie Budnick.