Can My Dog Get Kennel Cough Even If Vaccinated?
by Lynette Arceneaux, Demand Media

The kennel cough vaccine can sometimes fail to protect your dog.

You know your dog was vaccinated for kennel cough, but now he’s showing symptoms that look suspiciously like that very infection. Is that possible? In fact, it is possible for your dog to show signs of kennel cough — to even get the illness — despite the vaccination.

Kennel Cough and the Available Vaccines
Kennel cough is a highly contagious canine respiratory infection of the trachea and bronchi caused by a virus (adenovirus, parainfluenza virus, canine distemper virus) or bacterium (Bordetella bronchiseptica). Symptoms usually include those typical of an upper respiratory infection, like red and irritated eyes, a runny nose and sneezing. The main symptom, however, is a dry, hacking cough — often sounding disturbingly like a honk — occasionally followed by retching. If your dog regularly comes into contact with a lot of different dogs, your vet may recommend a kennel cough (or bordetella) vaccine, available as an injection or in the more effective intranasal form (in other words, it’s sprayed up his nose).

“When” Matters
If your dog recently received a kennel cough vaccination and is now showing cold-like symptoms or coughing, he might simply be experiencing some vaccine side effects. It’s not unusual for a dog to have mild sneezing, watery eyes and a runny nose after getting the vaccination, particularly common with the intranasal vaccines. Some dogs may even get a mild hacking cough several days after the vaccination, which could last as long as two weeks.
On the other hand, if your dog received the vaccination quite some time ago and he’s showing symptoms, he might actually have kennel cough. The bordetella vaccine’s protection typically only lasts up to a year at the most. If the vaccine’s protection was no longer effective and your dog was exposed to the infection, he could have contracted the illness.

A Stealthy Strike?
There’s always the chance your dog already had the infection when he received the vaccination but was not yet showing symptoms. Kennel cough can take three to 10 days to appear once your dog has contracted it, and if the infection was already in his system, the vaccine would not have stopped it. Another possibility to consider is that your dog contracted the infection after he received the vaccination but before it could generate the protective immune response. Immunity with the intranasal vaccine usually takes three to five days, for example, so if your dog came into contact with the infection during that time period, it’s possible he has kennel cough.