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Yaletown vet warns dog owners of rising Kennel Cough cases in Metro Vancouver

As cases of the highly contagious disease rise locally, here's what you can do to help keep your pup safe.

There's another contagious disease spreading in Metro Vancouver right now, but this one is affecting our furry family members.

Cases of Kennel Cough, a highly contagious respiratory disease, are rising in Lower Mainland dogs, and Dr. Karley Seagrist from Yaletown Pet Hospital, warns dog owners what symptoms they should be looking out for.

"Kennel Cough is characterized by a loud ‘goose honk’ cough, accompanied sometimes with runny eyes and nose, swollen lymph nodes, wheezing, decreased appetite and lethargy," explains Dr. Seagrist.

Although veterinarians see cases of Kennel Cough year-round, Dr. Seagrist notes that there has been a recent rise in cases in Metro Vancouver, and urges owners to ensure that their dogs are up to date on all of their vaccines.

Kennel Cough, also referred to as Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIRD), is a term used to describe a variety of infectious conditions in dogs that cause coughing. Although highly treatable in most cases, the disease can progress to more serious conditions like pneumonia, with puppies and unvaccinated dogs at a greater risk.

According to Dr. Seagrist, the best way to prevent Kennel Cough is to ensure that your dog is up to date on the Bordetella and Parainfluenza vaccine, which should be boosted every 6-12 months depending on your pet's risk and age.

She also stresses the importance of keeping your dog isolated if they are recovering from the disease, as it can be very easily spread to other dogs in the household, or through casual contact such as walking, playing or sharing bowls.

"Dogs become infected by either inhaling the bacteria or virus into their respiratory system, through shared contact with contaminated objects such as water bowls, or via direct contact with infected dogs," explains the Yaletown vet.

"Every time a dog coughs, the bacteria or virus can be released into the air and become a source of infection for other dogs. Any dogs with a respiratory infection should be kept away from other dogs for at least 7-10 days after all symptoms have completely resolved to ensure they do not spread it to their dog friends."

Clinical signs of Kennel Cough will typically resolve in 1-3 weeks, but if your dog is displaying symptoms, owners should contact their vet to determine the best treatment plan. Mild cases are treated with rest and supportive care, while more severe cases may require prescription medications.

For any dog owners whose pups are currently affected, Dr. Seagrist suggests that they may benefit from a body harness instead of a neck collar, as well as spending time in a well-humidified area.


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