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Can a Dog Have a Reaction to the Bordetella Vaccine?

Vaccinations and preventive care are crucial to the life-long health of your beloved pet, but what are the risks involved? In today's article, our Bakersfield vets talk about whether or not your dog can have a reaction to the Bordetella vaccine and what side effects to watch for.

Bordetella or kennel cough is most likely to be contracted by dogs that live social lives from stays at boarding facilities to actively visiting dog parks. While the Bordetella vaccine can be beneficial to help protect all dogs, it is highly recommended for these extra-social dogs.

If you have a dog that stays inside most of the time or doesn't socialize then you should consult your veterinarian to learn more about the shot and see if the Bordetella vaccine is right for your dog.

While the shot's benefits greatly outweigh the risks, there are some side effects that can be alarming to unprepared dog owners. 

The Bordetella Vaccine

The Bordetella vaccine is optional which means that it is not given along with the core vaccinations, but even though it is not mandatory, many doggy daycares, dog parks, or obedience classes will require your dog to be vaccinated against kennel cough to take part. 

Simple respiratory infections can easily evolve into dangerous and life-threatening conditions, so in order to protect your dog and the dogs with whom they frequently socialize, it's best practice to add the Bordetella shot to their preventative care plan.   

You should discuss the Bordetella vaccine with your vet if you plan on having your dog spend any time in social settings such as boarding facilities.

The vaccine greatly reduces the chance of Bordetella in dogs. Furthermore, while not 100% effective in preventing infection, the vaccine is guaranteed to decrease the likelihood of serious symptoms or life-threatening complications should a dog vaccinated against Bordetella contract an infection. 

How often should my dog receive the Bordetella vaccine?

If your vet determines that your dog would benefit from the Bordetella vaccine then it will be recommended to have a booster shot every 6 to 12 months.

This vaccination comes in two forms, an intranasal spray that your vet will administer through your dog's nose, and an injection. Both are comparably effective. The injectable Bordetella vaccine isn't suitable for dogs younger than 8 weeks, but the nasal spray version can be administered to dogs as young as 6 weeks old.  

Will my dog experience any side effects from the Bordetella vaccine?

Just like vaccinations in people, there will always be a chance of mild side effects after your dog receive a vaccine. Reactions are generally mild and short-lived, so while it can be stressful to see your dog suffering from side effects, it's important to remember that they are healthier and safer for it.

Being prepared to care for your pup post-vaccine will make the process less stressful for both you and your dog. Below is a list of the most common side effects dogs can experience from the Bordetella vaccination.

  • Lethargy
    • The most common reaction a dog will have to receive the Bordetella vaccine is a feeling of malaise, lethargy, or discomfort, often accompanied by a very mild fever. This reaction arises as a side effect of the dog's immune system working to respond to the vaccine appropriately. These symptoms are quite normal and should only last one or two days. 
  • Lumps & Bumps
    • If your dog receives the injectable form of the Bordetella vaccine, lumps and bumps can occur around the injection site. A small, firm bump may develop, as well as some tenderness and stiffness in the area. Most likely these bumps are just the result of skin irritation, however, any time that the skin is punctured there is a possibility of infection. Be sure to keep an eye on the site where the injection was given. Look for signs of swelling, redness, discharge, and pain. If left untreated, infected areas may lead to more serious conditions. 
  • Sneezing & Cold-Like Symptoms
    • If your dog received their Bordetella vaccine as a nasal spray, then it is common and ordinary for symptoms of a cold to present themselves. Adverse reactions to nasal spray Bordetella vaccination include coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose. Most dogs recover from these symptoms within a day or two.

Can the Bordetella vaccine cause my dog to cough?

If your dog has any reaction to a vaccine then the effects will be mild and should pass quickly. If your dog demonstrates any of the above symptoms, including a persistent cough, for more than a day or two you should contact your vet to seek additional medical care. In rare extreme cases, a serious adverse reaction to the vaccine may require med/ical intervention.

Can a dog have a reaction to the Bordetella vaccine

In extremely rare cases dogs can have an anaphylactic response to vaccination. This is a severe allergic reaction characterized by swelling in the face, hives, vomiting, issues breathing, diarrhea, and itchiness in your dog. This reaction typically occurs within a few minutes or hours of your dog receiving the vaccine but it can occur as late as forty-eight hours following vaccination. If your dog is showing any of the symptoms of anaphylaxis after receiving the Bordetella vaccine, contact your emergency veterinarian as soon as possible.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog is due for their routine vaccinations or you have any questions, contact our Bakersfield vets today to book a consultation.

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