Kennel Cough - Injectable or Intranasal?

It is very important that dogs that are being boarded, groomed or going to dog parks be vaccinated for kennel cough on a regular basis. Kennel cough is a respiratory disease caused by bacteria and maybe some viruses. It is spread by aerosol when dogs are in close contact and is especially a problem in kennels. It is not usually a life threatening disease, but it can cause a very irritating, loud, hacking cough. Rarely can it lead to a much more serious pneumonia.


There are two types of kennel cough vaccines; injectable and intranasal. Both provide protection against kennel cough, but they work in different ways. The injectable vaccine is given under the skin with a needle and syringe. This causes an immune response and the production of antibodies which circulate in blood, and are ready to attack if an infection occurs.


The other type of kennel cough vaccine is called an intranasal vaccine. It is dripped or squirted into the nose. While this might seem like an odd way to give a vaccine, it is actually very effective. Dogs get kennel cough by breathing in the bacteria/virus. This vaccine causes the production of antibodies in the respiratory tract, where they can be ready to attack the germs before they enter the body.


Both vaccines work. The intranasal works quicker and you don’t have to stick a needle into your dog. This is the vaccine that I personally prefer because it makes sense to attack the bacteria where it enters the body. I also use the injectable, if there is enough time before boarding, and especially for those dogs that would rather bite my fingers off than get vaccinated.

Which ever vaccine you choose be very careful to fully read the instructions provided with it. An injectable vaccine will not work if squirted up the nose, and an intranasal vaccine may cause an abscess if injected!

The bottom line is, no matter what vaccine you prefer to use, make sure your dog is protected against kennel cough on a regular basis.

If you need help, call us at 1-800-786-4751.

- Richard Edling, DVM, MBA

The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of a qualified veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.

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