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In our last newsletter we informed everyone that we were getting reports that a respiratory condition was going around and we asked everyone to take extra precautions. Now we have had several reports of dogs actually coming down with a cough. We remind everyone regularly that there is always the risk that dogs pass conditions to each other. We probably have the strictest protocols of any animal care facility in the area. We always remind everyone to respect our 14 day rule.

Summer is peak season for canine cough. In previous newsletters and in our blog we have explained where dogs can get it, what the symptoms are, but we find that there is still a lot of confusion around this issue. Dogs get sick by coming in contact with an infected dog or infectious material that a dog left behind, and thereby becoming infectious themselves. This can happen very quickly and the owner is often not aware of what happened. Dogs can shed the condition without showing symptoms. Dogs can becoming infected while with us, but that means that at least one dog picked it up somewhere else and brought it over. There is no way we can totally prevent this. It is a risk that comes with off leash play and that we mention in our service agreement. Young dogs and dogs with compromised immune systems are more likely to get sick. In fact, your young dog probably will get canine cough a couple of times before he is an adult. By then, his immune system will be better at dealing with pathogens that might cause respiratory illness.

The symptoms for canine cough can be confusing to owners. It looks like dog is choking on something, but he actually trying to clear his airways. He is spitting up white phlegm, which looks to people like he is throwing up. When you see this, keep your dog at home. When we notice that a dog has symptoms of canine cough, we will call you to come pick him up. Since we often will not know which pathogen is causing the respiratory condition and since different conditions can be passed on for different periods of time after onset, we ask everyone to wait for 30 days after symptoms have subsided, before you bring him back. Our service agreement has owners declare that their dog has been healthy for the past 30 days on the day they bring their dog to us.

There is a great presentation on canine cough, or Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC) on the Facebook page of PACCC, the Professional Animal Care Certification Council. We posted a link on our Facebook page. We ask everyone to take a moment and watch this presentation, so you understand more about this condition, since there are still a lot of misconceptions.

We want everyone to report to us if their dog gets sick, so we can get a picture of what is going on. We will report back what we know. Some people seem hesitant to report this. That is not necessary. We don’t feel defensive about this. We have protocols in place and do everything we can to mitigate the risk, but we cannot eliminate it.

One thing we are investigating is a new nasal vaccine against parainfluenza. What we learned is, that most cases of canine cough are not caused by bordetella, but seem to be caused by parainfluenza or canine influenza, with other pathogens involved. Now for bordetella, there are three ways the vaccine can be administered: oral, through injection, or nasal, with the nasal vaccine offering the highest protection. There is now also a nasal vaccine for parainfluenza. We recommend getting the nasal bordetella vaccine and we will report back on the parainfluenza nasal vaccine.

If you have any questions, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Dirk Broersma
https://awalkintheparkoftoledo.com