Well folks, I was out cycling the other day and noticed the first tell-tale sign that autumn was here: those cosy tones of Gold and Russet had made an appearance on trees’ leaves. I usually love to see this change but this year I have to say that I feel a little bit cheated. The one significant stretch of sunshine and warmth happened when we all got locked-down nationally at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, so we couldn’t get out and about and make the most of it – and that’s what got me feeling miffed.
During lockdown all our usual ways of staying fit and healthy changed – just when we needed to be doing exactly that! It was bye bye gym, team sports, squash, tennis and group exercise sessions/classes, and it was adios to ANY outdoor activity too in the very early days. Luckily, if you had animals that required exercise you could still do that as animal welfare had to be taken into consideration. So here we are in autumn, and the focus has turned to ‘flu jab’ season for us humans, which got me to thinking about respiratory infections in dogs.
Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (try saying that fast – I think I’ll abbreviate it to CIRDC!), Contagious Canine Cough or Kennel Cough is one and the same thing. Actually, calling it Kennel Cough really plays down the severity of this infection. Although CIRDC can be caused by a Virus, Bacteria or Viro-Bacterial combination one Bacterial culprit, Bordetella Bronchoseptica, is present in a whopping 78% of cases and so it is vital to protect your pooch from this nasty bug.
As we’ve changed our exercise habits from indoor classes or gym-based sessions to cycling, walking or running with our faithful hounds our, and their, social interaction levels have increased. We humans can wear a face mask to protect us from disease transmission, but Fido can’t and relies on you to keep an eye on his/her welfare. The more socially active mans’ best friend is, the more they are at risk of contracting (or transmitting, if they are already infected) CIRDC.
Walking in parks (especially dedicated dog parks), dog training sessions, agility and other clubs, dog shows, walking in a pack with a dog walker, going to the dog groomer, and even drinking from a communal water bowl are all situations where your beloved dog is at increased risk of contracting CIRDC. In fact, any other dog-to-dog contact will enhance this risk; and this sounds pretty scary, right? Don’t panic though; the Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre team have got your back – or should I say your dogs’ tail 🙂
Just like its human cousin, the CIRDC pathogens are transmitted via microscopic, air-borne droplets which is why it is so contagious/ easy to catch. Other factors such as a cold and /or damp environments, stress and weakened immune systems can all influence the severity of the disease in your pooch, so provide them with a good, well balanced diet, and toys and affection for their mental health. Regular visits to us here at SLVC will help keep them in optimal health, and don’t be shy about asking for more information on the various health sessions our Veterinary Nurses run.
Common symptoms of this nasty doggy disease include a persistent, hacking ‘goose honk’ cough (which can be followed by gagging due to its severity), loss of appetite and lethargy. Sneezing, runny eyes and nose, and a fever are also often found in poorly pooch’s. In the severest cases, CIRDC can progress to Pneumonia – which is why it is so important to vaccinate against it.
Vaccination is the best way to protect your fur-baby from disease and the more dogs that are vaccinated, the less likely this infection is to spread. I know that there is a temptation in these Covid-lockdown times to let vaccinations slide (especially if you are ‘shielding’) but please rest assured that the Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre team have a slick system in place for appointments and we don full PPE and adhere strictly to current Government guidelines and laws. If boosters aren’t given when they’re due then your dog may be unprotected for a time, and if too much time has passed from when their booster was due, then the drugs will be at ineffective levels in their bodies. Having your dog protected against CIRDC may be a requirement too at the boarding kennels you use (assuming you are lucky enough to get away this year!) – another reason to stay up-to-date.
As always, if you have any queries about the treatments we offer whether it’s the drugs we use, surgical procedures we do, treatment plans such as our Gold Plan, or clinics and additional services that Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre offer, then please do give us a call.
Until next time; stay safe (still covid cautious), stay well, and be happy 🙂