How often should my dog be vaccinated for kennel cough?

How often should my dog be vaccinated for kennel cough?

Bordetella vaccines are used to provide protection against a highly communicable canine respiratory pathogen which initially causes a dry hacking cough, runny eyes and nose that can, if left untreated, develop into a severe upper respiratory infection which can progress into a debilitating and sometimes life threatening pneumonia. 

Most dog owners know that the kennel cough (bordetella) vaccination is used to reduce the patient’s degree of illness after exposure to this pathogen. It is ubiquitous, having been found in dog parks, grooming parlors, puppy play-date centers, veterinary hospitals and boarding kennels. If your dog has any kind of social life, or frequents areas where other dogs like to play, he or she is at risk.

What you may not know is that kennel cough vaccines are effective when administered every 12 months. Most bordetella vaccines on the market today (injectable, oral or nasal) have been licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for annual protection. 

Many groomers, boarding kennel operators and even some veterinarians recommend the use of these vaccines every six months. If your veterinarian gives this recommendation to you, it is in your interest to ask them why. It is very likely that the vaccine being used by your pet’s veterinarian carries a 12-month USDA label backed up by solid science. 

Vaccination is a medical decision that involves the selection and the use of vaccines for the prevention of disease. Consult your veterinarian when considering vaccination to ensure you are fully aware of the risks and the reasons for vaccination. Your veterinarian should be clear and forward with the reasons why they recommend a shorter administration frequency than the USDA label. 

Over-vaccination is a valid concern. Our practice recommends annual vaccination against bordetella with effective, 12 month duration vaccines for both our patients and our own pets. 

When looking for a veterinarian to administer vaccinations to your pet, it’s important to find someone who will:

  • Evaluate each and every pet as an individual.
  • Determine each patient’s specific and individual risks of exposure based upon lifestyle, age, overall health and past vaccination history.
  • Create a personalized vaccination protocol tailored to the individual patient’s age, overall health and assessment of risk of exposure.
  • Always obtain client consent before any vaccination is administered.
  • Know that giving a vaccine more often than it is labeled for will not provide further benefit. The immune system simply does not work that way.

About this Angie’s List Expert: Dr. Julaine Hunter is a veterinarian with LazyPaw Animal Hospitals, providing veterinary services in Dallas. Dr. Hunter is a graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. LazyPaw Animal Hospital specializes in an array of veterinary services and animal boarding.

As of February 24, 2014, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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