Kennel Cough Vaccine

The kennel cough vaccine is used to help prevent the onset of infectious tracheobronchitis or bordetella; both of which are simply referred to as kennel cough. While cases of kennel cough are typically mild in most dogs, there is always the possibility of the infection escalating and producing a life-threatening situation. In order to avoid this, a dog should be vaccinated every year with the kennel cough vaccine.

Kennel Cough Explained

Kennel cough can be caused by a variety of different viral organisms, with the most common of all cases being caused by the parainfluenza virus and the bordetella bronchiseptica virus. When these types of organisms produce a case of kennel cough, a harsh and persistent hacking sound will usually be the first sign of infection to a dog owner.

When kennel cough is mild, usually nothing more than the hacking cough, some minimal vomiting and a runny nose will be noticed. However, when the infection is allowed to progress to a more serious state, a dog may start to become tired, run a fever and loose his desire to eat. When severe symptoms such as these are noticed, medical treatment should be sought immediately to prevent the infection from expanding into pneumonia and producing a potentially fatal situation.

Kennel cough is extremely contagious and can be spread through basic contact with other dogs. When a dog is infected with kennel cough, the organisms of infection which are present in his lungs will be dispersed into the air when he coughs or sneezes. Once the organisms are released into the air, any dog within in close proximity can inhale the organisms and become infected. Shelters, kennels and boarding facilities usually see more incidences of kennel cough because of the close quarters in which the dogs live.

Even when a dog has been treated for kennel cough, he will still release the remnants of the infection into the air for around two to three weeks after complete treatment. During that time, other dogs are still at risk from contracting kennel cough.

Kennel Cough Vaccine

There are several varieties of the kennel cough vaccine available and they can be given either nasally or through injection in combination with other yearly vaccinations. While any vaccine that a dog receives against kennel cough is helpful, the vaccines that are available are not 100 percent effective at completely preventing the onset of the infection; however, vaccines do greatly reduce the severity of the infection if it is contracted.

Kennel cough vaccine that is administered through the nose is usually the best option for vaccination. This type of vaccination actually provides local immunity—meaning if the organisms are inhaled and encountered in the nasal passages, the vaccine will work to kill them off before they can affect the dog. The injection form of the kennel cough vaccine does not work in this manner, but still maintains an acceptable amount of immunity to the infection.

Kennel cough vaccine is typically given every year and in most cases more than one dose will be needed for the vaccination to be entirely effective. Likewise, there is an incubation period in which it can take up to two weeks for the vaccination to provide immunity.