The 411 on Bordetella and Kennel Cough

As a dog owner, you might have heard the term “kennel cough.” This is a common ailment among dogs and is caused by a bacterium called Bordetella bronchiseptica. This disease is easily spread between pooches, which is why we offer bordetella vaccines at our low-cost vaccination clinics. We also require all dogs at daycare to be up to date on their bordetella shots.

What Is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough, or infectious tracheobronchitis, is a bacterial infection caused by a bacterium called Bordetella bronchiseptica. Kennel cough manifests in dogs with a dry cough. It’s super contagious and easily spreads through environments where many dogs congregate, such as daycares, shelters and dog parks. Kennel cough can also spread through the air or communal water bowls used by multiple dogs.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Kennel Cough?

Your dog might have kennel cough if they are coughing dryly or “reverse sneezing.” A reverse sneeze sounds sort of like a nasaly cough or sniffle and indicates post-nasal drip or a tickle in the back of the throat. Your dog might also seem tired and low-energy. Symptoms of kennel cough can show up as soon as two days after exposure.

Sometimes newly adopted dogs appear to maybe be sick. While they could possibly have contracted kennel cough at the shelter, they might just appear low-energy and are feeling a little timid. Being adopted is an overwhelming experience! If your dog isn’t eating and drinking normally, though, that could be an indication that they are genuinely sick. If you’re ever concerned your dog might be ill, call your veterinarian immediately!

How Can I Prevent Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough is preventable! This is why it’s important to vaccinate your dog. Vaccinating is inexpensive and readily available. You can also ask the shelter where you adopted your pooch if they detected any kennel cough symptoms. You should also bring your own collapsible dog bowl that only your dog uses if you go to the dog park.

What Happens During Kennel Cough Treatment?

Kennel cough treatment generally isn’t a big deal. Many cases go away without medication, but you should still call the vet if you suspect your pup is ill. Better safe than sorry! Your vet might also decide to treat the infection with antibiotics. And if your dog is newly adopted, give the shelter a call. They might offer advice and medicine at a low price or no additional charge. All in all, your dog’s condition should improve in a week — with or without treatment.

If your pooch doesn’t improve in seven days or seems to get worse, something could seriously be wrong. Look for more severe symptoms like a drippy nose, eye discharge, vomiting or a high temperature. Then call your vet immediately!

Again, vaccinate your dog! You can see when our next vaccine clinic is here.