For the past 2 months I have been dealing with varying degrees of kennel cough. It hit the pack hard this spring despite the fact that everyone is vaccinated for it. I no sooner got the pack healthy than I took one of my own dogs to obedience classes and boom it was in my house.
So if everyone was vaccinated why did we still get it? There is no one virus or bacteria that makes up “Kennel Cough” Kennel cough is a catch phrase used to describe just about every viral or bacterial based respiratory illness that dogs get. There are always several viruses out there waiting to grab a hold of someone’s weakened immune system. Once one grabs on often times another will hitchhike along. Too add to this the kennel cough or bordetella vaccine only covers 2 out of 8 strains of the bacteria. But your dog’s vaccine for canine influenza helps here as well.
So why should we bother to vaccinated if it’s not foolproof? No vaccine is foolproof. We have since the start of vaccines become much better about making them as effective as possible but some vaccines are trying to cover something that mutates every year or less! That being said dogs that are vaccinated for Kennel cough tend not to get hit as hard and do recover much more quickly than if they weren’t vaccinated. Case in point my GSD pup Jet. He had a slight cough, maybe 3 or 4 times a day for 4 days and that was it. He had been vaccinated in November and we re-vaccinated him in the beginning of March because my Vet knew it was going to be a bad season for it.
If your dog is a social dog they should be vaccinated for it if you and your Vet have agreed upon it. If your dog is very social, meaning they have a dog walker, go to daycare, attend regular classes or have monthly grooming appointments you should be looking at vaccinating more than once a year. We tend to get a major spike in Kennel Cough in the early spring and then a minor spike in the fall. If you have a brachycephalic breed such as a Bulldog breed, Boxer or even a shorter faced Terrier be aware that there ae two ways of administering the vaccine. The preferred method is a nasal form the other is the standard injection. Some research shows that the nasal form causes a higher rate of a mild case of Kennel cough due to the vaccine than the injection form in brachycephalic breeds.
Now these are things that I have learned from my own research, conversations with my Vet and several learned friends. Please do your own research on any vaccine and make an educated decision in conjunction with your Vet.