Kennel Cough from Bordetella Vaccine: feeling like I lost puppy’s progress

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puppy tax

Puppy blues(?) hit hard again, I’m feeling overwhelmed. My 12 wk puppy was healthy and was being carried around to get socialized in different environments. He attended puppy classes and socials for the last 4 weeks and loved it. On Friday he got his 2nd round of vaccines and the vet recommended he start Bordetella. Of course I agree. 4 days later, he has kennel cough and the vet thinks it’s from the modified live vaccine because of the timing. His body was supposed to fight off the weakened virus and develop antibodies but he couldn’t…However it’s possible he got it from his puppy playgroups too (no reported cases yet).

Well now I feel like all of our hard work is wasting away every day we’re in quarantine. First, socialization: I was a little upset he couldn’t attend his puppy classes, socials, go outside, or have physical exertion. Second, potty training: his cough gets worse at night and keeps him up. He used to sleep through 10 PM-6 AM but now that he gets up every hour with a coughing fit, he also needs to be taken out to potty each time. It hurts so much to hear him be so uncomfortable and restless. I also feel irrationally worried he isn’t getting enough rest necessary for this 3-4 month growth period.

And third, the breaking point. His vet prescribed a cough syrup and he absolutely hates it but it works. When it wears off after about 4 hrs, his cough comes back. It has to be applied directly on the tongue/gums, but he would struggle so I tried to mix in 1 drop with his dinner and he would barely eat. He already eats less food than the recommended amount which added to my stress bucket. Tonight, I was so determined to have him take his medicine so he can sleep that he started screaming when I put the syringe near his mouth while holding him. No amount of boiled chicken or cheese was helping. He scratched up my legs, didn’t break skin but it stings. I got him to take half. I felt so awful afterwards, I was holding him and giving him boiled chicken. He was acting normal but I broke down and cried. I felt like our calm restraint training is back to square one because I was so rough. I feel so conflicted because I know he hates it but he would be able to get some sleep. If it was from the vaccine, my 20/20 hindsight is blaring that I shouldn’t have done it until a month later. He is sleeping in his crate now, no coughing…

I feel like I shouldn’t give him his cough suppressant anymore, and maybe use the syringe to deposit cheese as he gets comfortable with it being near his face 🙁 Thanks for reading if you made it through.

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