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Kennel Cough (Bordetella)

Kennel cough (also known as bordetella) is a highly contagious bacterial disease that can affect dogs.  A pet contracts kennel cough when they inhale particles of a virus or bacteria which then lingers in their respiratory tract, trapping the infectious particles and resulting in an inflammation of the trachea and bronchi. Several factors are believed to expose pets to these contagious particles, some of which include cigarette smoke; crowded and inadequately ventilated areas, such as a kennel or shelter; cold weather; stress caused by traveling long distances; and dust. If you suspect your pet to be experiencing any of these conditions in the near future, it is recommended that a bordetella vaccination be administered; however, please keep in mind that the vaccination cannot prevent all strains of bordetella, as the virus comes in various forms.

What are the symptoms of kennel cough? 

  • Cough that sounds similar to honking. 
  • Dry hacking cough. 
  • Eye discharge. 
  • Fever. 
  • Retching.
  • Runny nasal discharge.

Treating bordetella

More severe infections will be treated with oral antibiotics for a period of 10 to 14 days, sometimes longer if the symptoms are more severe. If secondary health issues are a concern, such as pneumonia or dehydration, hospitalization might be required, so the veterinarian can administer IV fluids and additional antibiotics, as well as monitor the pet.

Because kennel cough is severely contagious, it is important to thoroughly sanitize an infected environment as soon as the contamination is known. Bowls, bedding, and litter boxes all need to be disinfected as well as any other object a pet has come into contact with.

If you have any questions about bordetella, feel free to contact our office at your convenience.