Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria are frequently found in dogs with the kennel cough complex and other respiratory diseases.
Signs of upper respiratory illness caused by bordetella include a dry, hacking cough accompanied by a clear nasal or eye discharge. In puppies and immune-compromised adult animals, secondary bacterial invasion of the lower respiratory tract following the viral illness may cause life-threatening pneumonia. Dogs who are carrying the organism and may not be ill themselves, may still cough or exhale the organism into the air.
Dogs are infected by breathing the contaminated air released by an infected dog.
The bacteria can be cultured from nasal swabs or transtracheal washings.
Treat all upper respiratory infections by placing the animal in a warm, draft free environment, humidifying the atmosphere, and avoiding stressful activities that can interfere with a smooth recovery. Antibiotics are indicated if the dog develops a fever and a mucopurulent nasal discharge. Antibiotics are also indicated for all cases of upper respiratory infection in which bordetella is isolated. Antibiotics given by nebulizer may be more effective than those given orally or by injection. This is because the bacteria attach to the mucosal surface or the respiratory tract and are difficult to reach with systemic antibiotics.
Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccines are of some help in controlling kennel cough and other respiratory infections caused by this bacteria.
Bordetella vaccinations are not routine, but may be advisable for show dogs, boarded dogs, dogs who go to grooming salons or obedience classes, and dogs who live in kennels.
There are two types of vaccines available to prevent bordetella. One is an intranasal vaccine and the other is injectable. The intranasal vaccine, which protects against parainfluenza as well as bordetella, gives the most immediate immunity. Either type of vaccine should be given at least one week before possible exposures.
The injectable bacterin must be given twice. The first injection is given at 8 weeks of age and is repeated two to four weeks later. Puppies born in high risk areas where bordetella is prevalent, can be vaccinated with the intranasal vaccine at 3 weeks of age. Annual boosters are recommended bu the manufacturer, but due to the short duration of immunity, semi-annual boosters may be more approptriate.
Please contact your veterinarian if you suspect your pet may have this condition.
Show Sources & Contributors +
The Howell Book Of Dogs
Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007
Author: Liz Palika
Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook
Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007
Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD