Ken­nel cough up with doggy day­care

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

Pam­pered pooches could be com­ing home with more than just tired bod­ies af­ter a day at doggy day­care.

Vet­eri­nar­ian Me­gan Alder­son has seen a steady in­crease in the num­ber of cases of ken­nel cough in the last few years which could be put down to an in­crease in dogs mix­ing to­gether in doggy day­cares.

‘‘We used to have out­breaks of it but now we’re see­ing it all year round.’’

Ken­nel cough is very sim­i­lar to hu­mans catch­ing a cold, she says.

It is spread from dog to dog through air­borne bac­te­ria and the like­li­hood of trans­mis­sion in­creases in crowded en­vi­ron­ments.

‘‘It’s pretty much just like hu­mans if you have more than four or five in a room the emer­gence of res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tions in­creases,’’ Dr Alder­son says.

Dogs can pick up ken­nel cough by walk­ing in the park or any place where they in­ter­act with other dogs.

Even pets that have been vaccinated against it can catch the chesty in­fec­tion which leaves them out of breath.

Symp­toms in­clude a dry hack­ing cough, retch­ing, sneez­ing, snort­ing, gag­ging or vom­it­ing af­ter ex­er­cise or when dogs are ex­cited and can ap­pear from sev­eral days to more than a week af­ter in­fec­tion. Af­fected dogs may sound like they have some­thing stuck in their throat.

It is very rarely life threat­en­ing ex­cept to the very young and old and can clear up with an­tibi­otics.

Dr Alder­son says the pros far out­weigh the cons in this canine co­nun­drum.

‘‘There is def­i­nitely a need for day­cares.

‘‘Peo­ple are now work­ing some­times more then 40 hours a week and to have a dog bark­ing at home all day and not so­cial­is­ing isn’t the best op­tion.’’

Dr Alder­son has been prac­tic­ing for 22 years and has spent the last eight years in Auck­land.

She says vac­ci­na­tions aren’t 100 per cent ef­fec­tive but they help keep ken­nel cough at bay.

Dog trainer Jess All­sop has more than 15 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the in­dus­try and says the so­cial skills and plea­sure dogs gain from doggy day­cares is im­por­tant to their qual­ity of life.

An unso­cialised dog can be far more of a prob­lem than one with ken­nel cough, she says.

But Com­plete Canine Care owner Rhi­an­non Tay­lor says there should be some guide­lines around how large fa­cil­i­ties can be and the ra­tio of dogs to staff.

‘‘At the mo­ment any­one can set up a fa­cil­ity.

‘‘We are quite far be­hind the times in New Zealand.’’

Photo: BARRY HAR­COURT

Canine cold: With more and more doggy day­cares we could be see­ing the num­ber of dogs com­ing down with ken­nel cough in­creas­ing.

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