Click here to learn more.
Bordetella bronchiseptica is an easily contracted bacteria that causes a hacking cough or, occasionally, a snotty nose. Any pet can get the disease, and except in severe cases, a round of antibiotics is usually all that’s needed to treat it. In fact, many cases are mild and self-limiting enough that they require no treatment whatsoever. Vaccination can protect your dog from illness associated with Bordetella.
Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacterium that is commonly associated with respiratory disease in dogs. It can also infect
cats, rabbits, and, in rare cases, humans. It is one of the more common bacterial causes of canine infectious tracheobronchitis — also known as kennel cough.
Bordetella bronchiseptica is one of several organisms included on a short list of bacteria and viruses responsible for this kennel cough syndrome. Bordetella is highly contagious, easily transmitted through the air or direct contact, and resistant to destruction in the environment.
In healthy adult dogs, Bordetella usually causes no more than a mild, self-limiting illness. In puppies or in dogs with other underlying health issues, however, it can cause severe illness (such as pneumonia) or even death in rare cases.
Signs of kennel cough typically develop two to 14 days after exposure. In mild cases, signs may resolve within 10 to 14 days. More severe cases, particularly when a subsequent infection has occurred, can require a much longer recovery.
A persistent honking, hacking, and/or gagging cough is typical of Bordetella infection. Many owners describe the cough as “vomiting” or believe something is stuck in their dogs’ throats. In these cases, this presentation is merely an uncomfortable symptom of an inflamed
Fever and lethargy (tiredness) may also occur. Sometimes, a whitish or greenish nasal discharge is also observed, but in other cases, clinical signs may be absent or so mild that they go unnoticed.
Although sophisticated testing is available, diagnosis is generally based on a history of exposure to infected dogs or a recent visit to a kennel, combined with the presence of signs of illness.
All breeds of dogs are equally susceptible to Bordetella.
In mild infections, treatment is generally supportive because the disease can resolve on its own unless a secondary (subsequent) infection occurs. Precautionary antibiotics to prevent secondary infection may be prescribed. In severe cases, treatment may consist of administration of antibiotics, cough suppressants, and inhalant medications to help patients breathe more easily. When possible, a harness, rather than a collar, is recommended for leash walking of ill
dogs. A traditional collar puts pressure on already sensitive and irritated tracheal tissues and can induce coughing episodes.
“Kennel cough” might well be a misnomer. That’s because dogs don’t necessarily contract the disease just from being kenneled. Rather, they become ill because kennels can be stressful environments and stress can suppress the immune system, increasing susceptibility to disease. Typical kennel conditions (such as group housing) can make it easier to spread infectious organisms, such as Bordetella bronchiseptica.
Vaccination can protect your dog from illness associated with Bordetella, particularly if your
dog frequents kennels, groomers, dog shows, or dog sporting events. To reduce the risk of disease transmission, many boarding facilities and grooming salons require dogs to be vaccinated against kennel cough before entry.
Although the B. bronchiseptica vaccination is not mandatory for every
dog, it may be recommended in dogs whose lifestyle increases their risk of exposure to this organism. An intranasal vaccine is available in addition to the traditional injectable vaccine. Your veterinarian can tell you whether vaccination is recommended for your pet and, if so, which type is best for your pet.
This article has been reviewed by a Veterinarian.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
An adorable black and white cat parked
himself right in the way of one of the
holes on a mini-golf course.
Vets performed a two-hour surgery to try to
save the leg of a Maltese struck
by a stolen van during a police chase.
You may be more familiar with the black-and-white variety of panda, but the red panda
had the name first.
Nocturne: Creatures of the Night, by Traer
Scott, showcases night-loving animals like
owls, moths and raccoons.
At this point in your dog's life, he's likely
beginning to show the signs of his age
and is not as active or…
With 40,000 animals poached each year
for the ivory trade, it might not be long
before elephants disappear…
When she's not curled in your lap, the affectionate and elegant Birman will gladly play fetch or chase a ball.
Thank you for subscribing.