“Kennels” and “Kennel Cough”

October 31, 2016

For far too long, Bordetella and other upper respiratory illnesses that afflict dogs have been referred to as “kennel cough.”  Those of us in the pet care industry have long tried to change that vernacular, sadly to little avail.  For those needing some quick background information, Bordetella is an airborne bacteria that dogs can catch anywhere dogs congregate, such as a dog park, the bench outside a coffee shop, the groomers, or even a veterinary lobby. It causes a pronounced cough, but for the vast majority of otherwise healthy dogs there are no other impacts (they eat just fine and have plenty of energy).  It is because Bordetella has such limited health implications that some veterinarians don’t include Bordetella in their core vaccines and some veterinarians affirmatively suggest not getting the vaccine to allow your dog to develop natural immunity (that, plus the vaccine is not fully effective).

At Pet Camp we have always required all dogs spending the night, attending day care, getting a bath or even a drop in swim in our pool be up to date on their Bordetella vaccines.  Like many lodging facilities we also prefer to see the vaccine administered every six months (as is done by some veterinarians) but will defer to the protocols of the individual veterinarian.  So is this effort worth it?   According to the folks at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, the answer is yes!  They say that requiring a Bordetella vaccine makes “kennels among the least likely place a dog will come down with ‘kennel cough’.”  So the next time your dog has a cough, perhaps even one after visiting a lodging facility or doggie day care that required a Bordetella vaccine, don’t call that cough “kennel cough”; try something more appropriate, like dog park hack, vet virus, or groomer croup.

 

Source: Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, Your Dog October 2016 page 14 (emphasis added)

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