Our team at Carrier Animal Hospital recommends the Bordetella vaccine for all dogs that socialize with other dogs such as in a kennel or at off-leash parks. While this vaccine is considered safe it can produce mild side effects, with serious reactions only occurring in rare situations. Here, our Grand Prairie vets discuss the benefits of the Bordetella vaccine as well as its possible side effects.
Why should my dog get the Bordetella vaccine?
Dogs that spend a lot of time with other pups have a higher risk of catching Bordetella (also known as kennel cough) from their visit to a local dog park, the kennel, or their doggy daycare center and should be vaccinated against Bordetella to make sure they stay healthy and happy.
For dogs that spend most of their time inside, dog owners should talk to their veterinarian to get more information about the shot and find out if the Bordetella vaccine is right for them.
It's important for pet parents to know that the benefits of getting the Bordetella vaccine highly outweigh the risks, as there are some side effects that might be concerning for some unprepared dog owners.
What dogs benefit from having the Bordetella vaccination?
While the Bordetella vaccine is an optional 'lifestyle' vaccination, rather than a core vaccination, lots of doggy daycares, dog parks, or obedience classes will require your dog to be vaccinated against Bordetella to participate.
Sometimes simple respiratory infections can develop into serious life-threatening conditions. To help keep your dog safe as well as the dogs they socialize with, our vets recommend adding the Bordetella shot to your pet's preventative care plan.
If you intend to enroll your dog in any kind of program outside the home or to be a regular at your local dog park, you should ask your vet about the Bordetella shot for your dog.
The vaccine greatly reduces the risk of Bordetella in dogs. Also, while not 100% effective at preventing infection, the vaccine is guaranteed to decrease the likelihood of serious symptoms or life-threatening complications if your vaccinated dog does contract the infection.
How often do dogs need the Bordetella shot?
Your vet will recommend a Bordetella booster shot every six-to-twelve months depending on your canine companion's risk of exposure to Bordetella.
This vaccination takes two forms, an intranasal spray that your vet will administer in your dog's nose, and an injection. Both are comparably effective. The injectable Bordetella vaccine isn't appropriate for puppies under 8 weeks old, while the nasal spray version can be administered to dogs as young as 6 weeks of age.
Can dogs have a reaction to the Bordetella vaccine? How long will the side effects last?
Mild adverse reactions are not only possible when having your pup vaccinated but should be expected. Reactions are generally mild and short-lived, so while it's worrying to see your dog having these side effects, it's important to know that they are healthier and safer for it.
Understanding what to expect after your dog gets the Bordetella vaccine will make the process less stressful for both you and your pup. Here we have listed some of the most common side effects dogs can experience from the Bordetella vaccination.
- The most common reaction dogs will experience after having the Bordetella vaccine is a feeling of malaise, lethargy, or discomfort, often accompanied by a very mild fever. This reaction develops as a result of the dog's immune system working to respond to the vaccine appropriately. These symptoms are quite normal and should only last a or two.
Lumps & Bumps
- If your dog receives the injectable form of the Bordetella vaccine, lumps and bumps can arise near the injection site. A small, firm bump can develop, as well as a bit of tenderness and stiffness in the area. Usually, these bumps are only the result of skin irritation, but any time that the skin is punctured it's possible for them to get an infection. You need to keep an eye on the injection site. Watch for signs of swelling, redness, discharge, and pain. If it goes untreated, infected areas can lead to more serious conditions.
Sneezing & Cold Like Symptoms
- If your dog received their Bordetella vaccine as a nasal spray, it's common and normal for them to develop cold symptoms. Adverse reactions to nasal spray Bordetella vaccination include coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose. Most dogs recover from these symptoms within a day or two.
What should I do if my dog starts coughing after getting the Bordetella vaccine?
In most cases, reactions to the vaccine are mild and short in duration. If your dog exhibits any of the above symptoms, including a persistent cough, for more than a day or two you should contact your vet to seek additional medical care. In rare extreme cases, a serious adverse reaction to the vaccine may require medical intervention.
Can dogs develop a severe allergic reaction to the Bordetella vaccine?
In extremely rare cases dogs can have an anaphylactic response to their vaccination. This severe allergic reaction in dogs is characterized by swelling in the face, hives, vomiting, breathing difficulties, diarrhea, and itchiness. This type of reaction will generally arise in a few minutes or hours after your dog receives the vaccine but it can occur as late as forty-eight hours following vaccination. If your dog is showing any of the symptoms of anaphylaxis after receiving the Bordetella vaccine, contact your veterinarian as quickly as possible.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.