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