Kennel Cough Vaccine – Yes or No?

Kennel Cough Vaccine – Yes or No?

travelling yorkieWe had our dog turned away from boarding at the very last minute because he was up to date on all the necessary shots… except Bordatella or Kennel Cough.  Luckily Morkies are very adaptable little guys and he ended up coming with us for the weekend and staying in the hotel, but it got me thinking… is Bordatella really necessary? And how can you get around this when the kennel or groomer demands it?

Just what IS Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough is a bacterial infection of the upper respiratory system. It leads to harsh, hacking coughing. It sounds much worse than it is, and can be treated fairly easily or will go away over time, much like our own colds or even bronchitis.

In Veterinary terms it is infectious trachebronchitis; inflammation and infection of the main airway (trachea),and into the passage to the lungs (bronchi).

It gets its name “Kennel Cough” because it’s often spread in crowded kennels or other group situations. Infected dogs cough and sneeze and the disease spreads quickly through the air. Kennel Cough can also be spread by direct contact and from contaminated surfaces such as sidewalks, the ground, food dishes and toys.

Your dog will come down with Kennel Cough anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure.

How serious is it?

Bordatella is only a serious condition if your dog is very old, very young, or has an immune system that is already compromised by other illnesses or parasites. Exactly the profile of the pet who should NOT get a vaccination.

Bordatella or Kennel Cough can be easily treated with holistic remedies to help your dog while he’s sick. They include doses of Vitamins C and E. Dr. Becker also mentions honey and slippery elm bark tea to sooth sore throats. (But as he reminds readers, check with your Vet before treating the dog yourself.) You can read more here: Mercola Bordatella treatment. )

Why not just get the shot?

First of all, many pet experts agree that the vaccine is pretty much useless when it comes to preventing Kennel Cough. That’s because there are many causes of Kennel Cough, and there is usually an underlying condition that allows the Kennel Cough germs to take hold.

And as bad as the honking, coughing sounds are, it’s not that serious and will cure itself, usually within two to three weeks.

If you really MUST get the vaccination

Be sure to opt for the nasal spray form of the vaccination (intranasal vaccine) if your kennel or groomer absolutely insists. DO NOT go for the injectable version, which contains a number of toxins.  And as with all vaccinations, try to give as few at once as possible – ideally just one at a time. That’s the best way to prevent the all-too-common deadly side effects of vaccinations for small dogs.


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Be an informed owner, and decide for yourself which shots are worth the risk and which ones are a simple – but dangerous – cash grab.  

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