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Kennel Cough Vaccine – Injectable or Intranasal?

It is very important for dogs being boarded, groomed or going to dog parks to be vaccinated for Kennel Cough on a regular basis. Kennel Cough is a respiratory disease caused by a bacteria and possibly some viruses. It is spread by aerosol when dogs are in close contact, so it is inevitably a problem in kennels. It is not usually a life-threatening disease, but it can cause a very irritating, loud, hacking cough. Kennel Couch can rarely 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 the 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. It makes sense to attack the bacteria where it enters the body. It is also beneficial to use the injectable if there is enough time before boarding, and especially for those dogs that would rather bite your fingers off than get vaccinated.

Whichever 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 your personal 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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