Local veterinarians are warning dog owners of a particularly virulent strain of kennel cough that is making the rounds throughout Cranbrook, Kimberley and Fernie.
Tanglefoot Veterinary Services says they’ve had a marked increase of dogs presenting to the clinic with kennel cough.
Jeff Cooper, Practice Manager with Tanglefoot Veterinary Services, explained that they are working to figure out what is causing this recent outbreak. He advises pet owners to avoid places where there might be other dogs you don’t know, at least for the time being. Places like kennels and dog parks, for example.
“Unfortunately, the test results from this strain have come back inconclusive,” Cooper said. “So we have this strain running around that we can’t identify. We even tested the dogs for COVID-19, since it is a respiratory infection. All results are negative so far for known respiration pathogens.”
He says that this particular strain of kennel cough is much more transmissible and severe, with some dogs even ending up with pneumonia.
“The other thing to note is that dogs who have been vaccinated against kennel cough can still get this strain,” Cooper warned. “It is more likely to develop under stress, and it seems that dogs may be getting it from other dogs who have been in a kennel. Be wary until we can figure out just exactly what’s going on.”
Kennel cough, Cooper says, is exactly as the name suggests. It is most likely spread through a kennel environment. Dogs who are sick with kennel cough will have a distinctive, dry cough, and likely symptoms of lethargy.
According to a link shared by Tanglefoot from the Veterinary Partner website, kennel cough is an infectious bronchitis of dogs characterized by a harsh, hacking cough that most people describe as sounding like “something stuck in my dog’s throat.”
The good news is that it can be treated with antibiotics.
If you suspect your dog has kennel cough, it’s important not to walk into your vet clinic as the illness could spread throughout the building. Be sure to call ahead as there will be special instructions from the clinic, such as staying in your vehicle once there.
Cooper said that a similar situation is also unfolding in Calgary, with an untestable strain making the rounds there.
Back in early August, the BC SPCA warned that an unusual outbreak of kennel cough was circulating around the Kamloops region. It was a similar story, with tests for known viruses coming back negative. Also similar was the fact that vaccinated dogs were falling ill.
An article on the BC SPCA website stated that the cause could be a virus that isn’t detected by commercially available tests.
“Because the causative agent is unknown, we want to make sure that people are vigilant in isolating their dogs immediately if they start coughing,” said Emilia Gordon, senior manager of animal health for the BC SPCA.
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