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Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs

What Is Bordetella in Dogs?

Bordetella bronchiseptica is a bacterium that affects the respiratory tract and is one of the primary causes of kennel cough in dogs. Kennel cough is highly contagious and spreads rapidly in places where dogs are in close contact, such as shelters, doggie daycares, boarding facilities, and dog parks.

Key Takeaways

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica is a key cause of kennel cough.

  • The Bordetella vaccine is a safe and effective way to prevent this illness.

  • The vaccine significantly reduces the risk and severity of kennel cough.

Symptoms of Kennel Cough

Dogs infected with Bordetella may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Dry, "honking" cough

  • Sneezing

  • Hacking

  • Eye and nasal discharge

  • Fever

  • Congestion

  • Lethargy

  • Decreased appetite

Transmission of Bordetella

Kennel cough spreads through direct contact with infected dogs or contaminated objects like bedding or toys. Dogs in social environments or those frequently in close quarters with other dogs are more at risk.

Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs

The Bordetella vaccine prevents kennel cough and is administered either orally, nasally, or via injection. Puppies typically start receiving the vaccine between 6 to 8 weeks of age, with booster doses given to maintain immunity. For adult dogs, the vaccine is usually updated yearly, although high-risk dogs may need it every six months.

Side Effects of the Bordetella Vaccine

The vaccine is generally well tolerated, but possible side effects include:

  • Itching or redness at the injection site

  • Low-grade fever

  • Reduced appetite

  • Lethargy

Serious side effects or allergic reactions are rare.

Effectiveness of the Bordetella Vaccine

While the Bordetella vaccine is highly effective, there is a small chance of breakthrough infections. However, vaccinated dogs typically experience less severe symptoms if they do contract kennel cough.

Benefits of the Bordetella Vaccine

  • Reduces the risk of kennel cough

  • Limits the spread of kennel cough in group settings

  • Lessens the severity of symptoms if infection occurs

  • Prevents secondary complications like chronic lung disease and bronchopneumonia

  • Ensures dogs can attend training classes, daycares, grooming, and boarding facilities

Risks of the Bordetella Vaccine

  • Normal injection site reactions (redness, swelling)

  • Mild sneezing after intranasal vaccination

  • Temporary lethargy

It's important to follow your veterinarian's recommendations, especially for pregnant or lactating dogs.


The Bordetella vaccine is crucial for preventing kennel cough in social dogs. While it may not prevent every case, it significantly reduces the severity and spread of the disease. Consult your veterinarian to determine if the Bordetella vaccine is suitable for your dog. For more information, visit

Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs
Bordetella Vaccine for Dogs


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