Bordetella: Why my pet has to have it to board


Frequently we have clients who have tried to board their pets at a facility only to have the receptionist tell them they could not board because the pet did not have updated vaccines. As boarding facilities are often not staffed by medical professionals, the client is not given much of an explanation as to why the vaccine requirement exists. To help alleviate some of the confusion we wanted to discuss one of the key vaccines required by boarding facilities and groomers: Bordetella.

Most commonly required vaccine for boarding  

Shy Sam, is a regular boarder at PAH. His mom is great about making sure he is always up to date with his bordetella vaccine.

The most commonly required vaccine for boarding is Bordetella. This vaccine protects against the bordetella  bronchiseptica  which is one of several organisms that can cause Kennel Cough. As if the scientist who named the vaccine was trying to give us hints (putting “bord” and “kennel” in the titles), kennel  cough is most often passed between dogs that spend time together in confined spaces, such as boarding facilities. This is not to alarm you or deter you from thinking about boarding your pet. Thousands of pets visit boarding facilities every day and go home happy and healthy. Requiring all dogs be vaccinated for Bordetella reduces the chances of any pets bringing in the disease. The vaccination requirement is really just a sign of a clean facility!

What is kennel cough:

Similar to a human’s cold, Kennel Cough’s main symptom is a coughing sound. Often clients will go to their pet’s  doctor complaining that their dog cannot stop coughing and they are concerned something is caught in their pet’s throat. Although no object is found in their throat, the doctor will often find inflammation of the windpipe and voice box. Kennel cough can be spread at a boarding facility, but can also be caused by dog-to-dog contact at the park, germs on shared toys, or even shared water dishes.

Other symptoms the doctor may look for include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Eye discharge

Treating Kennel Cough:

Kennel cough is very contagious. Many veterinary offices, including Pacific Animal Hospital, will often have suspected kennel cough dogs come in through a separate door to reduce the chance of transmission. If you have a dog at home that you think may have kennel cough, keep them away from all other pets and wash your hands after coming into contact with them (you can’t catch it, but you could assist in passing it between your pets). Kennel cough will run its course in about three weeks

Common forms of treatment:

  • Antibiotics that target Bordetella
  • Keeping your pet in a room with a humidifier to help reduce the coughing
  • Using a harness instead of a collar to avoid causing distress to the throat
  • Keeping your pet in a low-stress environment (i.e. food and water always available, lots of love and attention, quiet, a comfy place to sleep, etc.)
  • Avoid exposure to fumes or smoke

The easiest way to avoid kennel cough all together is to get your pets vaccinated. Except in rare instances, vaccinated pets will not get kennel cough.

If your pet is social and goes to parks, beaches, or comes in contact with other dogs  or will be boarded,  please contact (LINK) Pacific Animal Hospital to make an appointment to see a doctor and get vaccinated!

We believe in standards, and so should you!

As a hospital that believes in offering the best possible healthcare to animals, we have gone the extra mile to ensure that our standards do not slip. We want to always offer the best possible care to our clients and their pets, so much so that we are accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association. Although this may not seem surprising since many of the human hospitals we visit are required to be accredited, for animal hospitals there is no requirement to be accredited or to maintain a standard of health care. Re-accreditation is not guaranteed and the process of re-accreditation involves an on-site inspection of the hospital. For our staff and doctors being accredited means everything. We believe in providing the ultimate pet health care experience, both medically for patients and service for clients. But what does this mean for you as a client?

What does it mean to be accredited?

Only 15% of the hospitals in the nation are accredited. The process of accreditation is long and involved. We are held to 900 standards of excellence. These standards span the gamut, involving everything from how we keep medical records to how a doctor performs an exam on your pet. Each standard was created to ensure that your pet receives the same level of care every time they go to the hospital. Once a hospital is accredited they are audited every three years to ensure compliance is maintained.

How does this affect my pet?

All AAHA hospitals are required to offer diagnostic services (x-ray and laboratory) on site so that you can have immediate information regarding your pet’s health. This increases the accuracy of diagnosis and keeps your pet’s care timely.

The standards are all focused on quality. Specifically, ensuring that anesthesia, contagious disease, dentistry, pain management, surgery, and emergency care (i.e. all the really big important and potentially invasive areas of veterinary medicine) are monitored and evaluated to ensure they are performed correctly. This ensures that your pet is safe while at the hospital.

Following AAHA standards also means that even down the tiniest areas, our hospital is clean, sanitary and a safe environment for your pet. Hospitals that do not follow AAHA standards related to contagious diseases (of which there are many, transmittable to both humans and pets) put clients and pets at risk. AAHA standards help ensure that you and your pet will not be exposed to pets infected with contagious diseases (ask to see our isolation room!). Following AAHA standards we take every precaution to ensure that you and your pet our safe while visiting our hospital.

We are very proud of our accreditation and are honored that you choose to come to our facility for your pet’s medical care. Thank you for trusting us and we hope that if you have questions or your pet is ever in need that you will call or email us.



The Joys of Pet Adoption

Why adopt a pet when you can purchase exactly what you want from a breeder or a pet store?  Here are a few reasons why!

  • You can feel good about putting a small dent in the pet overpopulation problem.
  • Every time you look at your new pet you will know that you saved two lives – your pet’s and the animal who will be able to take your pet’s place in the shelter.
  • You know what you are getting- if you take home an adult animal you know what size, temperament, and medical issues you might be taking on.
  • Most shelter animals come fully vaccinated, microchipped, and spayed/neutered.  One less thing to worry about!
  • You will know for a fact that you are not supporting puppy mills or other irresponsible breeders.
  • Your new pet will likely come potty trained and socialized!
  • When you adopt a pet you inspire others to do the same.

So, inspire us!  Share your adoption story with us in the comments section.  We can’t wait to hear about how you and your pets found each other!