What is kennel cough?
Also known as infectious canine tracheobronchitis, tracheobronchitis, canine infectious respiratory disease and Bordetella, “kennel cough” is a highly contagious respiratory disease usually caused by several infectious agents working together—a lot like the common cold in humans. The only symptom of kennel cough should be coughing. The dog’s general state of health and alertness will be unaffected, they usually have no rise in temperature and they do not lose their appetite. Although kennel cough will pass in a few days in vaccinated dogs without medication (though it can take up to 21 days if the dog is unvaccinated), it is still recommended that your dogs see a vet if they are coughing and especially if they are showing any other signs of illness because there are several serious respiratory diseases that might display similar sounding coughing as a symptom.
Can my dog still get kennel cough even after being vaccinated?
When we vaccinate “for kennel cough,” we are vaccinating against Bordetella bronchiseptica, which is only one of the bacterial agents that has been implicated in canine kennel cough. Some other contributing viruses (like Adenovirus and Parainfluenza) are covered by other standard multivalent vaccines. However, there are still contributing agents that we do not vaccinate against and, in some cases, have not even identified. The Bordetella vaccine (along with the other standard vaccinations your dog receives) is not intended to prevent Bordetella entirely—it can’t. They’re intended to boost your dog’s immunity and equip them with the proper antibodies to fight off the illness more effectively.
Why is there a 24-hour wait period after getting the vaccination before my dog is allowed to come to the kennel?
E&E Kennels policy requires that dogs receive the kennel cough vaccine at least 24 hours prior to coming in to the kennel for boarding, whether it was injected or given intranasally.
We ask this, first, to protect the dogs coming in and to ensure that they have the appropriate level of immunity because the primary immune response to initial vaccines is a long process which typically requires 7-14 days for the first antibodies to be produced. This phase is called the “lag phase” and means that the animal isn’t protected by the vaccine at all and may be more vulnerable during that period because their immune system is distracted.
The second reason that we require a 24-hour wait period, especially in the case of intranasal vaccination (which is usually given the first time a dog receives the kennel cough vaccine), is that the Bordetella vaccine is a live vaccine and can be passed from dog to dog while fresh. Any dog to come in contact with a mild form of Bordetella can carry it around for a short period.
Does it matter whether my dog is given intranasal or injectable Bordetella?
Intranasal (otherwise known as the “up the nose” vaccine) and injectable (traditional needle) Bordetella vaccines are all equal to us if given before the 24-hour wait period. We do, however, have some specifications if the dog is receiving their Bordetella within the 24-hour wait period.
I am now within the 24-hour wait period but still need to drop my dog off at E&E. Can I still do so?
Yes, conditionally. First, you understand that your dog may not have full protection from Bordetella bronchispetica and acknowledge that you are dropping your pet off at the kennel at your own risk. The second important thing to understand is that we cannot allow dogs into the kennel showing the signs of infection (like coughing, sneezing or nasal discharge) which can happen after being injected with the intranasal vaccine. Because the problem, and the cause of these symptoms, is the live avirulent bacteria in the intranasal vaccine, it can be avoided by administering the injectable vaccine instead, which is made of an inactivated-cellular antigen extract (or dead bacteria.) This prevents the spread of the disease around our facility by coughing, sneezing, discharge, etc.
So my dog could potentially be unprotected for his entire stay if we get the injectable vaccine right before drop off?
The short answer is yes. This is why it is so important to get the Bordetella vaccine done with time for the body to recover and begin to produce antibodies. That said, most new research recommends intranasal only for the first vaccine, since it stimulates a natural immunity, and then the injectable to boost the natural immunity created by the previous exposure. While some research shows that injectable has a slightly longer wait period before antibody production (though well within 14 days), it should not be quite that long in a dog that has been regularly vaccinated up to this point and is still producing some antibodies.
We maintain this policy (as well as our rigorous cleaning policy) to ensure that the entire E&E Kennels facility remains free of contagion/disease in order to protect all of our clients. Because all the dogs in the kennel should be properly vaccinated (well outside of the wait period) or vaccinated with the injectable vaccine, there should be no opportunity for Bordetella to spread.
If you have any further questions, our staff would be happy to answer to the best of their ability.