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Kennel Cough Information for Referring Vets Fact Sheet

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We are trying to refine our policies for protecting referred canine patients against kennel cough. For non-emergency referrals, our telephone receptionists encourage clients to check their dog’s kennel cough vaccination status and ask you for advice if in doubt. They are also directed to a kennel cough fact sheet on our website prior to the appointment.


The health status of patients referred to us varies greatly and each case must be assessed individually as to whether administration of a Bordetella vaccine is appropriate prior to the referral appointment.


We advise intranasal Bordetella vaccination for any dog that is in good general health and is being referred for elective surgery or investigations. Regarding the available vaccines, the data sheet for Intrac (Schering-Plough) suggests onset of protection within 3-5 days of vaccination and recommends vaccination 5 days before exposure to a risk of infection. The data sheet for Nobivac KC (Intervet) recommends vaccination at least 3 days before anticipated risk.

Cases that should not receive a kennel cough vaccine include those that:

  • Are receiving antibiotics (the vaccine is unlikely to do harm, but probably won’t work)
  • Are already coughing or have a known respiratory condition
  • Have a known problem with the immune system (or this is strongly suspected) or are receiving immunosuppressive drugs
  • Have previously had serious adverse reactions to vaccines
  • Have received another vaccine within the previous 2 weeks (although Nobivac KC may be administered concurrently with other Nobivac injectable vaccines)
  • Are being referred for diagnosis or management of a serious illness rather than for an elective procedure (again the vaccine may not work – many cases referred to medicine, neurology or oncology may fall into this category)

If referral has been organised at short notice or we identify an inpatient that is not vaccinated against Bordetella and is likely to stay for more than 3 days, our staff will offer vaccination with Intrac if appropriate (i.e. none of the above exclusion criteria apply). We are unlikely to target unvaccinated patients whose anticipated stay is less than 3 days.

Should clients notify you that a recently referred patient is coughing following a visit to DVS, we should appreciate notification by yourselves so that we can take appropriate action and for disease monitoring by our infection control group.

Linnaeus Veterinary Limited trading as Davies Veterinary Specialists 01582 883950

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