Vets have begun to warn about highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs which has been dubbed the “canine coronavirus” but is more typically known as the kennel cough. The disease is fast spreading and that has been growing in numbers. Vets have determined that dozens of viruses are causative factors in the emergence of the disease in dogs. This relatively new pathogen is something which all pet owners should concern themselves with. It is important to know that though this is also a coronavirus, it cannot jump from dogs to human beings.
Cases have been rising and often dogs are arriving at the vet’s in bad condition because many people have been under lockdown and not been able to provide their dogs with the kind of veterinary care that they normally would.
However, we have to know that every year there are outbreaks of the kennel cough, just as people have with the flu, and that it is not unusual to see spikes in cases and currently. Some clinics in Calgary, Alberta in Canada, have begun to see cases of about five to 10 a day, with the caseload rising in the last few weeks. A factor in that rise may be due to the fact that places like Calgary and Edmonton -also in Canada- have a large number of urban coyotes which move through the same parks that dogs do, so dog owners are advised to steer away from dog parks and kennels during this pandemic.
The Society of B.C. Veterinarians have linked the rise in cases to the Covid-19 pandemic, with many vets noting that the number of dogs contracting kennel cough is higher than normal considering the compressed timeframe in which cases are presenting. The connection between kennel cough and human coronavirus, and at this point it is a hypothesis, is made in the following way: because of the lockdowns, many people rushed to get pets and those pets were not as exposed to nature as they normally would be, which left them with very naive immune systems, compared to a dog which had been exposed to the outside world and all the things that a dog experiences through the nature course of its life. Dogs need their immune systems to be challenged at a low grade in order for them to develop ways of combating disease.
A further reason could be that with dog rescue groups importing more dogs from different countries across the world, a new strain of kennel cough could have been brought which local dogs are not used to.
Kennel cough is highly infectious between dogs and can be very harmful to puppies or dogs with weak immune systems.It is therefore incumbent upon dog owners to get their dog’s vaccinations up to date at animal clinics like Pharr Road Animal Hospital. The most atypical symptom of kennel cough is a persistent, forceful cough that usually sounds like a goose honk.As with humans, if you notice that your dog has developed this cough, isolate it from other dogs and take them to see a vet.