Black lab puppyBordetella, also known as Kennel Cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease among dogs.

It is characterized by a dry, harsh, hacking cough that some describe as sounding like “something is stuck in my dog’s throat.” Clinical cases are typically caused by numerous infectious agents that work together to irritate and damage the lining of both the trachea and the upper bronchii.

Kennel cough is airborne, meaning it can spread much like the human cold. The microscopic organisms are carried in the air in tiny water vapor or in dust particles. Those particles are then inhaled by a susceptible dog.

It is fitting for the name to be nicknamed “Kennel Cough” as it is much more likely to spread wherever there are numbers of dogs confined to an area such as a boarding facility, groomer, animal shelter, dog shows or doggy daycare. Many of these facilities require all dogs are current on the Bordetella vaccine.

Fortunately, most cases of Kennel Cough will resolve on their own, but recovery can often be hastened with a round of antibiotics that will directly kill the Bordetella organism. Cough suppressants can also be prescribed to provide comfort during recovery.

To reduce the risk of disease transmission, there is a vaccine that can protect your dog from illness associated with Bordetella. This vaccine can either be given as a separate injection or administered intranasal. It takes 4 days to generate a solid immune response after intranasal vaccination, so it is best if vaccination is given at least four days prior to the exposure.