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Can a Dog Have a Reaction to the Bordetella Vaccine?

Can a Dog Have a Reaction to the Bordetella Vaccine?

Here, our Egg Harbor Township vets talk about the bordetella vaccine for dogs and the potential reactions and side effects they can get from this shot.

Dogs that live very social lives are at a higher risk of catching Bordetella (often called kennel cough) from their doggy daycare centers or from a visit to their local dog park and should be vaccinated against Bordetella to help keep them healthy.

For dogs that stay inside, pet owners should ask their veterinarian about the shot and see if the Bordetella vaccine would be beneficial for them.

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

Why Vaccinate Your Dog Against Bordetella

Even though the Bordetella vaccine is an optional vaccination and not a core vaccination, many doggy daycares, dog parks, and obedience classes will require your dog to be vaccinated against kennel cough to participate.

Simple respiratory infections can easily turn into dangerous and life-threatening conditions, therefore, in order to protect your pup and the dogs they socialize with, it's best practice to add the Bordetella shot to their preventative 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.

How Often Dogs Need The Bordetella Shot

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 forms, an intranasal spray that your vet can administer to 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.

The Side Effects of The Bordetella Vaccination in Dogs & How Long They Last

Just like human vaccinations, mild adverse reactions are not only possible but should be expected as a result of vaccination. Reactions are usually mild and short in duration, so while it can be stressful to see your dog suffering from side effects, it's imperative to keep in mind that they are healthier and safer for it.

Being prepared to care for your dog after their vaccine will make the process less stressful for both you and your pup. Below we have listed the most common side effects dogs can experience from the Bordetella vaccination.

  • Lethargy
    • The most common reaction dogs develop to 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.
  • Bumps & Lumps
    • If your dog receives the injectable form of the Bordetella vaccine, lumps and bumps can form 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 chance 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.
  • Cold Like Symptoms & Sneezing
    • If your dog received their Bordetella vaccine as a nasal spray, then it is common and normal for symptoms of a cold to arise. Adverse reactions to the nasal spray version of the Bordetella vaccination include coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose. Most dogs recover from these symptoms within a day or two.

If Your Dog is Coughing After The Bordetella Vaccine

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

Allergic Reactions In Dogs 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 symptoms of anaphylaxis after receiving the Bordetella vaccine, contact your emergency veterinarian as quickly 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.

Contact our Egg Harbor Township vets today and schedule an appointment for your dog's bordetella vaccination.

Always Welcoming New Patients

At Newkirk Family Veterinarians, we always accept new patients into our veterinary family. Our veterinarians are passionate about the health and well-being of Egg Harbor Township pets. Contact us today to book your pet's first appointment. 

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