Many homes have dogs or cats as pets, and like the owners themselves, dogs and cats may sometimes contract illnesses, especially when they are exposed to other animals, whether wild animals or other pets. In fact, when large numbers of dogs are held in close proximity in kennels, such as at a dog show, it is common for “kennel cough” to get spread around. The good news is that vaccines are available for this illness, and any responsible dog owner can take his or her dogs or puppies into the vet to get shots. When is the right time to get the Bordetella vaccine? And how else can veterinarians help keep dogs and puppies healthy?
Pets and Pests
Dogs are a very common pet in the United States and in fact nearly every household has at least one pet of some sort. The United States alone has the biggest pet dog population, numbering some 75 million, and about 44% of American households are home to one of these dogs. Cats are nearly as popular, with around 38,900,000 households owning at least one of them (with or without dogs present).
Unfortunately, pests and diseases will follow these animals wherever they go. Fleas are a common problem. Just one female flea can lay 2,000 eggs in its lifetime, and a flea can survive 100 days or so without even feeding on blood. When they do eat, fleas can consume 15 times their own body weight in blood per day. Ticks, heartworms, mites, and other pests and parasites are real dangers, so any pet clinic or veterinarian clinic is ready to help fight back. Various medicines and sprays can kill existing pests and prevent new ones from bothering a pet. Often, newly bought cats and dogs will have heartworm medicine and other treatments to prevent ticks or fleas from getting into their fur and drinking blood. After all, ticks and fleas can spread disease to cats and dogs just the way they do to humans.
Getting a Bordetella Vaccine
The Bordetella vaccine is meant to prevent what is loosely known as “kennel cough.” According to the American Kennel Club, “kennel cough” refers to a number of highly transmittable respiratory illnesses that dogs can get from each other, especially when they are held in kennels near each other. Kennel cough itself is not fatal, but it can lead to fatal secondary diseases in puppies, senior dogs, and other immunocompromised dogs. Aerosol droplets, sharing food and water bowls, and shared toys (and the saliva on them) can transmit this disease. Harsh coughing, runny noses, sneezing, appetite loss, fever, and lethargy are the usual symptoms of kennel cough.
However, a Bordetella vaccine can prevent this disease from taking hold in an owner’s pet dog. An owner can call an animal care clinic ahead of time for directions on bringing in an unvaccinated dog, and once the shot is done, the dog is ready for contact with others. In some settings, such as dog parks, training classes, dog shows, and boarding facilities, may dogs will be in contact with each other for extended periods, so getting the Bordetella vaccine goes a long way to keeping an owner’s dog healthy. In fact, some dog facilities will require that each dog present is vaccinated this way (and other vaccines may be required, as well). If an owner’s dog is the only canine in the house and it rarely comes face to face with other dogs, an owner can ask a nearby veterinarian whether getting the Bordetella vaccine may be necessary. An owner, especially a new dog owner, can perform an Internet search for “vet clinics near me” or “low cost dog vaccinations” to find nearby vet clinics and their contact information. Then, the owner can call them on the phone and, if needed, set up an appointment for vaccines and medicine for the dog.