Canine 'Whooping Cough' (Video)

An article written by Dr. Eric E. Brooks a veterinarian from Stow Kent Animal Hospital describing Canine Bordetella.

Canine “Whooping Cough”

Written by Eric E. Brooks, DVM

    As spring is upon us, the dog parks fill with proud parents showcasing their new puppies, families pack for vacation to exotic locations, and dogs start sporting their new summer hair do.  So what do these events share in common?  They share the potential for our four-legged friends to contract a serious form of pneumonia.

    Canine Bordetella is a very close cousin to Whooping Cough
in people.  It is a highly contagious bacteria that is transmitted between dogs through coughing, sneezing, sharing water bowls or in some cases it can be transmitted on a person’s hands through petting and playing with multiple dogs.  Once the bacteria enters the nose or mouth, it travels down into the lungs where it causes a loud, hoarse honking cough and eventually develops into a serious form of pneumonia that can last for weeks to months.   In some dogs, this disease can be fatal, especially in young puppies.

    Follow this link to see a YouTube home video of a sad
little Bulldog puppy affected with Bordetella:


    So why haven’t you heard about this disease? Is this a new disease affecting dogs? Quite to the contrary, this is the infamous “Kennel Cough” that has been affecting dogs for decades.  But don’t let the name fool you; many dogs that contract Bordetella have never set foot inside of a kennel.  The following is a list of the most common places where dogs have potential to contract Bordetella:

  • Boarding shelters
    while families are on vacation
  • New puppies
    procured from pet stores or animal rescues
  • Dog parks
  • Groomingfacilities
  • Doggy day care
  • Obedience/training classes
  • Dog shows, agility trials and hunting clubs
  • Pet stores where dogs are allowed to play with toys before purchase (i.e. dog slobbers on toy, doesn’t like the toy and mom puts it back on the shelf for your dog to later play with)
  • Sharing community water bowls placed outside of local restaurants and coffee shops in the summer
  • Any other place where two dogs from different households can have direct contact with each other

    There is a vaccine that can easily prevent this disease from affecting your beloved family member.  If your dog frequents any of the above-mentioned places, you should contact your veterinarian to see if the vaccine is right for your pet.


Stow Kent Animal Hospital

4559 Kent Road

Kent, OH 44240


Portage Animal Clinic

4148 State Route 43

Kent, OH 44240



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Pam Basinger May 15, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I just wanted to add a note regarding kennel cough, this was a situation that happened to my dogs a few years ago that may not have been thought of for the article as it was something that I hadn't thought of myself. I never had my dogs vaccinated for Kennel cough because I didn't see the need for it. They generally were never boarded and I groom them myself and don't use any type of doggy day care. However, when I brought the younger of the two into the vet to be neutered they required that he have the vaccine. A few days after he came home, my older dog started coughing and after reseaching I discovered her cough was possibly kennel cough. After thinking about it, I wondered if the vaccine was a "live virus". I called the vet and sure enough that's what they gave him so though it didn't affect him in anyway, he was a carrier and passed it along to his sister. I think it should be a requirement for the vet's office to make sure there are no other dogs in the home before giving a live virus vaccination to only one.
Stow-Kent Animal Hospital May 18, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Thank you for your interest in the article, and for sharing your experiences with the community. I’m sorry that you had to experience this first-hand, I know this must have been a very difficult time for your family. In regards to some of your comments, I would like to clarify a few points for the readers. It is true that some vaccines are manufactured using a modified-live virus or bacteria. These viruses/bacteria are specifically engineered to survive in the body just long enough to stimulate the immune system. However, the organisms have been altered in some manner to prevent them from causing an actual infection. Veterinarians often choose to use this type of vaccine, rather than using the killed virus/bacteria vaccines because they tend to provide stronger initial protection (immunity). Please follow this link to an unbiased website written by other veterinarians that will help to further explain the “kennel cough” phenomenon: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=600
Stow-Kent Animal Hospital May 18, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Unfortunately, without knowing the intimate details of your pets’ medical history, I am unable to comment as to how or why your pets developed this infection. Please feel free to contact our office if you would like to discuss the matter further. I would be happy to review the information and sources that you mentioned. If you would like, I could also assist you in contacting the specific vaccine manufacturer so you may learn specifically how they alter the virus or bacteria to achieve protection without jeopardizing the health of your family member. As veterinarians, our primary concern is the health and well-being of your pet. Please discuss the future vaccination needs with your veterinarian at your pets’ annual exam. Dr. Eric Brooks


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