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Canine Bordetella

Bordetella is one of the causes of the canine upper respiratory disease, tracheobronchitis or "kennel cough." It is a bacterial infection of the respiratory system of dogs characterized by severe coughing and gagging. It is a very contagious airborne disease. Most cases appear after contact with other dogs in kennels, grooming parlors and other places where dogs congregate. The incubation period is about one week.

The most common complaint heard by veterinarians is that "it sounds like the dog has something caught in his throat." This is not the case, but the symptoms certainly make it appear that way. Most dogs show no other sign but the cough. Occasionally dogs may develop pneumonia and become ill enough to require hospitalization.

Treatment consists of antibiotics and cough suppressants. Most dogs respond quickly to therapy, but some develop a chronic cough syndrome that may last for months.

The bordetella vaccine is intranasal (administered by nose drop) annually.

Puppies are particularly susceptible, so this vaccine should be included in their regular vaccine series.