What Is a Kennel Cough Vaccine?

Kennel cough (also medically known as infectious tracheobronchitis) is a term that is frequently used to describe upper respiratory tract infections in dogs. Although the symptoms can be mild to moderate and often distressing for the dog, in some cases it can develop into a more serious condition. Many animals can suppress signs of illness or keep the infection localized in the upper respiratory tract, but sometimes kennel cough can progress to affect the lungs, particularly in young animals or those with other respiratory diseases. Kennel cough is a combination of viral and bacterial infections and can be spread from animal to animal, so even though your pet may not show any symptoms you really shouldn’t take any chances on them coming into contact with other animals. By vaccinating them against the main associated bugs we greatly reduce their chance of getting kennel cough, and also help protect other pets they come into contact with.

About kennel cough vaccine

The kennel cough vaccine is administered by your veterinarian as a topical treatment that stimulates the immune system to create antibodies to protect your pet against canine kennel cough. The vaccine and the Bordetella bacteria are both parts of the same family. This vaccine is also named as Bordetella vaccine. Although rare, it can cause mild coughing and sneezing for one or two days after the vaccination. Each year it affects up to 20 million dogs in the United States. Dogs with kennel cough are contagious to other dogs for 7 to 10 days. Vaccinating your dog or cat for kennel cough is simple and does not require traveling to a veterinarian’s office for an in-person injection. Simply give your pet a small amount of vaccine in the back of its throat during seasonal outbreaks. Pets should be vaccinated every six months following their last vaccination.

Effectiveness of kennel cough vaccine

Vaccinating dogs against kennel cough is an excellent idea, and a good policy to have in place as part of an overall disease prevention program. It’s ideal for dog boarding facilities and dog daycare providers. Unfortunately, the efficacy of vaccination can be reduced by many other factors. While vaccination for Bordetella is essential, it’s far from 100% effective and your kennel must rely on other infection control practices to reduce the incidence of this highly contagious infection.

Why is not kennel cough vaccine 100% effective?

Kennel cough is a multi-causal disease. It can be caused by several different kinds of viruses and bacteria. Dogs who develop immunity from one episode of kennel cough cannot be re-infected with the same pathogen causing kennel cough if they are explored to it. However, they could become infected again if exposed to another of these agents. The kennel cough vaccine can protect your pet against both Bordetella bronchiseptica and canine parainfluenza, two of the agents that most commonly cause kennel cough. But these two are not the only causes of the kennel cough vaccine.

Vaccines have historically been the backbone of control programs for preventing disease and death in wildlife. However, even if an animal has been vaccinated, it is still possible that pre-existing viral infections or environmental conditions may compromise the protective effect of vaccination. Additionally, vaccinated individuals can still spread disease to other animals that haven’t been vaccinated. While vaccines cannot give a pet a 100% guarantee of protection from the given disease, they do provide the best means of protection currently known.

A dog cannot be vaccinated the day before going home. Vaccines need time to kick in. The label on the vaccine packet will list an amount of time needed for effectiveness to kick in (e.g., 30 days for parvovirus vaccine),” Although kennel cough vaccine provides some degree of immunity to pups, puppies that are properly vaccinated for kennel cough can still become infected with the disease. Puppies won’t receive full immunity from the kennel cough vaccine until they are 16 weeks old.

Side effects of kennel cough vaccine

Unfortunately, the first thing most pet owners know about the Bordetella vaccination is that it can give their pup a rather unpleasant reaction. This vaccine is designed to help prevent kennel cough in dogs, however, it does cause some mild adverse reactions in dogs that receive this vaccine. It’s important to understand what to expect post-vaccine so you won’t be too shocked when your dog starts acting a little bit differently after getting this vaccine.


The response to the Bordetella vaccine is different for every dog, but one of the most common reactions a dog will have is just a day or two of mild exhaustion. This reaction is normal and should only last 24 to 48 hours. Do not be alarmed if your puppy becomes a little lethargic from the vaccine, as this is normal.

Lumps and Bumps

If your dog has recently had the injectable form of the Bordetella vaccine, you may start to notice some bumps around the site where the shot was given. These bumps are most likely just a result of skin irritation and should resolve on their own within a week or so. If the area becomes red or irritated-looking, or if it becomes swollen, painful, or starts to discharge pus, you should make an appointment with your vet to make sure that it is not infected. If left untreated, these lumps can become more serious and infect more tissue, leading to infection and abscessed glands.

Symptoms like sneezing and cold

If your dog is experiencing coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose after receiving a nasal spray Bordetella vaccination, then you are NOT alone, and please know that the symptoms are common. If your dog received their nasal spray Bordetella vaccine, then it is likely that they will get a runny nose and sneeze some. Keep in mind that the Bordetella vaccination is a one-time shot that protects your dog from kennel cough. If your dog is vaccinated then they can go to animal shelters and play with other dogs.

What to do if my dog is coughing after getting the vaccine

Post-vaccinal coughs can be severe in some cases, so it is best to contact a vet if you see your dog exhibit any symptoms. Dog owners should also recognize that a cough is not the only symptom of distemper and other serious illnesses.


The kennel cough vaccine is one of the many types that are used for treatment. It is given to the patient when they have already been infected with kennel cough. Medications should be taken when an animal is sick, and it works by helping reduce coughing, liquid buildup in the lungs, and other symptoms related to the virus. Dogs can contract this disease from visiting places where other dogs have it. This is why we need to make sure that our own pets do not bring it home. To do this, we must vaccinate them for kennel cough before going anywhere that other animals frequent.

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