Q: Should I give my dog a kennel cough vaccination?
Will vaccination keep my dog from getting “kennel cough” at the boarding kennel?
Because canine infectious tracheobronchitis (“kennel cough”) is a complex of bacterial and viral infections that change over time, preventive vaccination of your dog is about as effective as your annual flu shot: helpful but not 100-percent guaranteed.
The contagious respiratory dog illness — characterized by a honking cough and nasal discharge — almost always involves some form of the bacterium, Bordatella bronchiseptica. When B. bronchiseptica gangs up with a nasty assortment of viruses (canine parainfluenza, adenovirus, distemper virus] or canine herpesvirus) not to mention other bacteria (like Pasteurella multicoida and maybe a bunch of bacteria-like mycoplasmas — a dog can be coughing for weeks.
Treatment (with antibiotics, cough suppressants, bronchodilators, and nebulizers) depends on what’s in that germ cocktail in the first place. Kennel coughing dogs with severely suppressed immune systems might get pneumonia, but most recover completely.
Because kennel cough is so contagious (and bad for business) many boarding kennels require proof of vaccination before letting dogs in the door.
Thanks to the vets at BluePearl Veterinary Partners (bluepearlvet.com) for this answer.
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