The bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica is one of the causes of kennel cough. When Bordetella causes kennel cough, it is typically referred to as Bordetella or tracheobronchitis. This highly contagious condition is common in kennels and shelters. Symptoms include fever, nasal discharge and dry, honking cough.
Bordetella is an airborne bacterium, so it is highly contagious. If your dog spends regular time with other dogs, such as in a kennel, dog park or obedience class, exposure to Bordetella is likely. When your dog encounters an infected dog, the incubation period is typically one week. After this, symptoms may surface.
Treatment for kennel cough caused by Bordetella is often antibiotic medication, whose administration helps eliminate bacteria and reduce risk of secondary infections such as pneumonia. Symptoms last for about 10 days, but a dog is contagious for up to 14 weeks. A vaccine against Bordetella offers your dog a reduced risk against the bacteria, though not guaranteed protection. Vaccinated dogs can still become sick with Bordetella and infect other dogs. Many kennels and dog classes require vaccination against Bordetella due to the fact it is so contagious.
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