Debunking Myths in Pet Care: “Kennel Cough”

Blog-Post-Kennel-Cough

Post by Dick Palazzo, President, Purr’n Pooch Pet Resorts 
Family Owned & Operated Since 1970

There is perhaps no more misunderstood canine disease than what is commonly referred to as “kennel cough” or canine cough. In medical terms, it’s a contagious respiratory disease among dogs, typified by inflammation of the trachea and bronchi. Canine cough, when put in simple terms, is the dog equivalent to the human cold.

It is spread by any one of three infectious agents (parainfluenza, adenovirus or Bordetella). Because of the continued use of the name “kennel cough”, it is widely misunderstood as something dogs inherently catch in a kennel or pet boarding facility. In fact, many veterinarians and WebMD continue to call the virus “kennel cough” often leading anxious pet owners down the wrong path when trying to understand where their dog may have contracted the virus.

I challenge all of us in the pet care industry and veterinary medicine to use the medical term Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIRD), instead of  “kennel cough” because it’s important that dog owners and the public in general be educated on the respiratory disease and its origins.

Canine cough is also an accurate name for CIRD because it describes the syndrome of coughing dogs but does not imply that the disease is caused by a pet care facility. By labeling canine cough “kennel cough”, employees in our industry are constantly working to educate others on the disease. It’s an ongoing issue we face and is very similar to those that were once faced by childcare facilities. Schools and daycares have been successful in educating parents on how illness spreads and today you’ll find hand sanitizer everywhere from the playground to the doctor’s office. But for us, the professionals in the pet care industry, the label “kennel cough” continues to mislead pet owners on the origins of the virus.

What are the symptoms of Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIRD)?

CIRD can show up as a dry, hacking cough and is followed by a ratching or gagging sound. An infected dog may also exhibit a runny nose and sneezing. This disease prognosis without treatment can develop into a fever and breathing problems. For these reasons, early detection on the part of the owner or anyone caring for the pet is important. In general, the incubation period for CIRD is anywhere from 3-10 days and there are millions of strands of the virus.

Why did Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease come to be called “kennel cough”?

While attending pre-veterinary school in the 1970s, I remember reading in medical textbooks that the discovery of kennel cough could be traced back to a time when laboratories, kennels and breeding facilities were boarding dogs in common areas. This started it all and today people are still associating the “kennel cough” with kennels and pet boarding facilities simply because of the name.

How is CIRD contracted?

Typically CIRD is spread from dog to dog in secretion of the eyes, nose, or mouth and by direct contact from infected dog to healthy dog. Sneezing or coughing releases tiny aerosolized droplets carrying the virus to over 20 feet in any direction and spreading ITB to healthy dogs. Viruses can also be carried on hands, clothing, shoes, pet supplies and equipment. It’s crucial to have a healthy facility that creates happy, healthy pets and pet daycare and boarding facilities are leading the pack in taking the precautions necessary to stop the spread of a virus like CIRD.

Much of the literature on “kennel cough” says it has to do with the quality of ventilation when large amount of pets are housed together. Although that is true, the main reason is socialization. Many people take their pets out of the house and bring them to public places such as dog parks, restaurants, hospitals and pet stores. Basically, we live in a more dog-friendly world (thankfully) and our pets socialize more with one another, and thus are more likely to contract the virus.

Most of the time, healthy dogs will pick up the infection through scent because this is the way dogs communicate. You’ll notice the first thing a dog will do when out is drop its head to the ground and sniff around. Dogs can also catch CIRD through the air, as it is an airborne infection. Fortunately, with proper ventilation and by taking precautions like having your dog vaccinated you can lessen your pet’s chances of contracting CIRD. It is also important that when visiting your veterinary office, you inquire about the precautions they take to safeguard your pet’s health while in the waiting room and throughout the building in general.

What precautions are taken at Purr’n Pooch to maintain healthy pets?

At Purr’n Pooch Pet Resorts, the same mechanical contractors that designed and installed Jersey Shore Medical Center’s ventilation system also recently designed our units. It’s rare to find a facility with this ventilation system because many buildings are just not designed for it. Everything we do at Purr’n Pooch is for the comfort and care of our pets and their health and safety from the air systems to our hygienic cleaning.

It is possible that no one will ever get to the bottom of discovering exactly how and where our pets contract this infection. Many of us with children can also relate as we prepare for cold and flu season! Your children will spend more time with friends and classmates socializing indoors and on the playground and sports fields. A cold is inevitable and unfortunately so are those visits to the doctor’s office and many do not have state-of-the-art ventilation systems.

I’ve been working with dogs and cats for more than 45 years and it saddens me to hear the term kennel cough used more often than CIRD or canine cough. My hope is that this will change because as soon as pets are treated and the infection is labeled “kennel cough,” it’s sometimes directed back to the dog’s favorite home away from home – the boarding facility, daycare and grooming salon/spa.

My advice for pet owners is to educate yourself and if you believe your pet has CIRD, please visit your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Please note that all the information provided on the Purr’n Pooch Pet Resorts blog is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Please contact your veterinarian for an evaluation before diagnosing or treating your dog.

 

Summer Fun at Purr’n Pooch and Dog-Friendly Events at the Jersey Shore

Summer Fun at Purr'n Pooch and Dog-Friendly Events at the Jersey Shore

The tail-wagging fun has yet to stop this summer! These past few months have been jam-packed with exciting activities and the pups and kitties are loving it – especially the mild temperatures, which have made outdoor playtime even more enjoyable.  We were curious to find out what your pets have been doing all summer long, so we held our “Paws” for Summer Fun Photo Contest from July 21 to August 10. We saw so many adorable pictures of pups lounging by the pool and on the porch; basking in the sun out in the backyard; cooling off in the shady garden; playing with the garden hose, Frisbees and chew toys; and taking a bubble bath to clean up from a long day of outdoor fun. Our furry friends just love to soak up the summer fun!

Summer Fun at Purr'n Pooch and Dog-Friendly Events at the Jersey ShoreWhen your pets are not at home spending fun in the sun with you, they’re enjoying lots of summertime activities with us here at Purr’n Pooch. Splashing and paddling around in our freshwater pools is a favorite for the pups. This summer we added a new and exciting amenity to our Wall location – an indoor pool for aquatic water exercise. It’s already a hit! When it’s time to wind down, the pups relax in the shade on the playground or in our air conditioned suites. They also enjoy playing with KONG® toys filled with frozen peanut butter and treats. The kitties are purrfectly content basking in the sun near the windows and playing on the jungle gym, rock walls and waterfalls. We’ve celebrated quite a few birthdays and other special occasions with private and monthly parties, featuring Jodes Happy Tail yogurt treats for dessert – a sweet treat! On Saturdays, we have our training and agility classes, which take place both indoors and outdoors.

Book your pet’s summer fun with us soon! Our swimming pools are open through mid-September and sometimes longer depending on the weather.  Call us in Tinton Falls at 732.842.4949 or in Wall at 732.528.8100.

When your pet is not visiting Purr’n Pooch or at home playing in the backyard, take him or her out on the town! There’s plenty of dog friendly events happening around the area. Here are just a few in Monmouth County, NJ. Get out and enjoy the dog days of summer!

WONDER BAR YAPPY HOUR

Summer Fun at Purr'n Pooch and Dog-Friendly Events at the Jersey ShoreDoggies get to romp and play in a large fenced outdoor area while Mom and Dad enjoy a cool drink at Yappy Hour at the Wonder Bar, 5th & Ocean Aves. in Asbury Park, NJ! Hours are Monday and Friday: 5-10 p.m. (small dogs only), Wednesday and Thursday: 5-10 p.m. (all size dogs), Saturday and Sunday: 1-10 p.m. (all size dogs). There are swimming pools for the dogs, as well as an agility area and a special ‘time out’ area for those dogs who need a little time to unwind. This is a separate fenced-in area where the dog and their owner can spend some time getting used to Yappy Hour. Dogs must be neutered and have current rabies tag or dog license. There is dog security at all times to keep human and canine guests safe and comfortable. The Yappy Hour deck is restricted to customers 21 and over. Learn more >

Summer Fun at Purr'n Pooch and Dog-Friendly Events at the Jersey ShoreRED BANK DOG DAYS OF SUMMER

On the third Tuesday of each month, dogs and owners congregate on Monmouth Street for an evening of shopping, dining and socializing with other pet owners. The last event of the summer will take place on August 19, 2014 from 6 p.m. to  9 p.m. Monmouth Street will close from Broad to Drummond and feature take-out dining and dog-friendly activities hosted by local animal charities and businesses including Purr’n Pooch. Come visit our table! Red Bank Veterinary Hospital will also be on hand with water stations, cleanup areas, dog first aid, nutritionists and behaviorists. Dogs must be on a leash. Learn more >

Summer Fun at Purr'n Pooch and Dog-Friendly Events at the Jersey ShoreLONG BRANCH JAZZ & BLUES FESTIVAL

Enjoy a day of live performances by talented jazz and blues musicians, food, crafter and sponsor exhibits, an Alex and Ani Hospitality Tent, beachfront views, fireworks and activities for the entire family, including pups, on Saturday, August 23, 2014 from 12:00 to 10:00 p.m. at The Great Lawn, 28 McKinley Ave. in Long Branch, NJ. The festival is rain or shine, dog friendly, free to the public, and all ages are welcome to attend. Learn more >

New Training Classes Starting Soon!

New Training Classes Starting Soon at Purr'n Pooch

PUPPY BASIC

Starts Wednesday, January 8, 2014  –  7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

ADULT BASIC I

Starts Thursday, January 9, 2014  –  7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

ADULT BASIC II

Starts Tuesday, January 7, 2014  –  7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

7-week training programs focus on obedience instruction in sit, stay, down, come and to walk nicely on leash. Owners will learn to communicate more effectively with their pet, learn what motivates certain behaviors, how to read canine body language and more! (First class no dogs – humans only) $200.

ONE-ON-ONE INSTRUCTION

These 1.5 hour one-on-one sessions are designed to focus on specific areas of behavior and obedience. Owners will learn to communicate more effectively with their pet, what motivates certain behaviors, coping with complex behaviors, how to read canine body language, how to harness and redirect the energy of their dog, and much more! $125 per 1.5 hour session.

PRIVATE IN-HOME INSTRUCTION

Private In-Home Instruction classes are designed for owners who can’t join classes at Purr’n Pooch Pet Resorts because of physical or traveling limitations, and/or for dogs who are not candidates for on-site classes. $150 for 1.5 hours of instruction.

Classes are held at the Purr’n Pooch Tinton Falls, NJ Training Hall.

To register, please call 732.842.4949 or email info@purrnpooch.com.