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Can a Dog Have a Reaction to the Bordetella Vaccine?

Can a Dog Have a Reaction to the Bordetella Vaccine?

Many dog owners worry about their pet's reactions to certain vaccines. Here, our Charlotte vets discuss the possible side effects seen in dogs after receiving the Bordetella vaccine.

Dogs who live social lives are at an increased rate of catching Bordetella (also called kennel cough), from their doggy daycare centers or a visit to the local dog park and should be vaccinated against bordetella to ensure they stay healthy and happy.

For dogs who stay inside, pet owners should consult their veterinarian to learn more about the shot and see if the Bordetella vaccine is right for them.

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

Vaccinating Your Dog Against Bordetella

While the Bordetella vaccine is sometimes considered optional, rather than a core vaccination, many doggy daycares, dog parks, or obedience classes will require your dog to be vaccinated against kennel cough to take part. 

Respiratory infections can easily turn into life-threatening and dangerous conditions. So, to protect your dog and the dogs they frequently interact with, you should add the Bordetella shot to their preventive care plan. 

If you intend to enroll your dog in any kind of program outside the home or to be a regular at your local dog park, you should ask your vet about the Bordetella shot for your dog.

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. 

Bordetella Shot Frequency

Your veterinarian will recommend a Bordetella booster shot every six-to-twelve months based on your pet's risk of exposure to Bordetella. 

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

Possible Side Effects of Vaccination

Just like vaccinations administered to people, mild adverse conditions aren't only possible but to be expected when getting vaccinated. Reactions are generally mild and short-lived. So, while it can be stressful to see your dog suffering from side effects, it's important that you remember your pup will be healthier 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 to the Bordetella vaccine in dogs is a feeling of malaise, discomfort or lethargy often accompanies by a mild fever. This reaction arises as a side-effect of your 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 in the nasal spray form, then this side-effect is common and will often show like the symptoms of a cold. Adverse reactions to nasal spray Bordetella vaccinations include sneezing, coughing, and a runny nose. Most dogs recover from these symptoms within a day or two.

Coughing After Receiving the Bordetella Vaccine

As a general rule, reactions to the vaccine are short-lived and mild. If your dog is showing any of the symptoms above, including a persistent cough for more than a day or two, you would contact your vet to seek additional medical care. In rare extreme cases, serious adverse reactions to the vaccine may require medical intervention.

Allergic Reactions to the Vaccine

In very rare cases, dogs may have an anaphylactic response to vaccinations. This is a very serious allergic reaction characterized by swelling in the face, vomiting, hives, issues with breathing, diarrhea, and itchiness in your dog. This reaction will generally occur within a few minutes or hours of your dog receiving their vaccine. It's possible that it can occur as last as 48 hours following your dog's vaccination though.

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. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.

Is your dog due for a Bordetella vaccination? Contact our Charlotte vets to schedule your pup an appointment.

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