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
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:
- 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!