This page is strictly the opinion and experiences that Melissa, the manager of Caraway Kennels, has seen over the last 19 plus years. You may not agree with everything/anything she says and that is ok 🙂
Lets Talk about....Canine Flu (fall of 2018): There are two strains of flu that dogs are getting, the H3N8 and the H3N2. Unfortunately, just like in humans the symptoms are similar to other respiratory viruses, so we sometimes don't know if the dog has the flu or just another upper respiratory virus when they are first starting to show symptoms. I have posted a link below to the AVMA that explains about the virus. I strongly urge you all to read and research this virus too and I promise to keep you informed if I find out any new information.
Mary and I have been discussing if we should require the vaccine or not; we don't like the idea of over vaccinating our pets. But after talking to multiple veterinarians and operators of kennels/daycare facilities through out the US we decided that it is the safest path for our facility. This virus has the potential to be pretty intense, it lasts a long time and can linger for up to 21 days. This is not like Kennel Cough were dogs are sick up to 10 days and then they are basically back to normal activity and play. From what I have read dogs are sick with the flu for 2 to 3 weeks and can spread the virus for up to 21 days. So for our daycare clients this means that you would have to keep your dogs out of daycare for at least 4 weeks depending on how your dog is recovering. Since we are almost always at max capacity everyday this leads to the potential of 80 to 90 dogs coming into contact with the virus if we have an outbreak. For Mary and myself this is too many dogs to just leave up to chance if we don't require the vaccine. A notice has gone out (9/3/18) that we are requiring this vaccine be given to all of our daycare clients by 11/9/18 before the biggest time that we generally start seeing respiratory viruses enter the kennel. We are also requiring all of our boarding and grooming clients who will be entering our facility anytime between 11/9/18 to 1/9/19 get their dogs vaccinated by 11/9/18. If you are not planning on using our facility between those dates we just ask that you get your dog vaccinated before the next time they come into the kennel. There will be no exceptions; except if you have a note from your vet stating that there is a medical issue with your dog and they do not recommend the vaccine. We will have to turn you away if we do not have a record of your pet completing the canine flu vaccine series. We are talking this viruses seriously and have advanced our cleaning methods to hopefully help deter viruses from spreading. We have two different kinds of air purifiers in each room along with a ventilator that allows us to do complete air exchanges. We also rotate our cleaning products and we make sure that we bleach all of the shared toys and nyla bones that are given to the dogs daily. You can help us with the fight against viruses by keeping your pet at home if you notice they are under the weather. If they are coughing, sneezing, hacking up phlegm or just not wanting to go about their normal routine keep them away from not just the kennel but dog parks, pet stores, grooming facilities and training class. If we think a dog has come down with something we will immediately separate them from the other dogs, if they are daycare clients we will call their owners and have them pick up their dog. One of our goals is to provide a healthy environment for your animals when they stay with us but it is hard to fight something you cannot see. We try our best and I think that since we are upfront about what is going around in the kennel helps. We also need our clients to be upfront with us and let us know if their dog gets sick after they leave the kennel. I don't know if this vaccine will guarantee you that your dog will never get the flu; but from what I have been told it hasn't hurt any dogs to get it done and if they do get the flu maybe with the vaccine it won't be as bad.
Just as human colds may be caused by many different viruses, kennel cough itself can have multiple causes. One of the most common culprits is a bacterium called Bordetella. Most dogs that become infected with Bordetella are infected with a virus at the same time.
Dogs "catch" kennel cough when they inhale bacteria or virus particles into their respiratory tract. This tract is normally lined with a coating of mucus that traps infectious particles, but there are a number of factors that can weaken this protection and make dogs prone to kennel cough infection, which results in inflammation of the larynx and trachea.
These factors include:
Exposure to crowded and/or poorly ventilated conditions, such as are found in kennel and shelters
Exposure to dust and cigarette smoke
Travel- induced stress
Symptoms of Kennel Cough:
Classic symptom is a persistent, forceful cough.Some dogs with kennel cough may show other symptoms of illness, including sneezing, a runny nose or eye discharge.
If your dog has kennel cough, he probably will not lose his appetite or have a decreased energy level.
Most cases of kennel cough will resolve without treatment, medications may speed recovery or minimize symptoms during the course of infection. These include antibiotics that target Bordetella Bacteria and cough medicines.
To read the whole article please visit pets.webmd.com
Here are my thoughts on kennel cough...IT SUCKS! haha. The dogs sound horrible and you feel so bad for them. On the boarding side, we never know when it is going to hit us. We have so many preventative measures, we rotate disinfectants, we have a ventilator that helps us exchange the air in the kennel, we have multiple air purifiers we even take a 10% bleach solution and spray it in the air to try to kill any airborne diseases.
Some answers to some common questions we get asked:
My dog has the Bordetella vaccine aren't they protected? The vaccine may help but does not guarantee 100% protection against kennel cough. I believe that the vaccine only covers a few different strains and the cause of your dog's illness can be caused by many different kinds of viruses along with bacteria.
Who brought this in/ Who was patient x? Honestly, we have no idea. That is like asking the grocery store who gave you a cold while you were there shopping. Some dogs can carry a virus or the Bordetella bacteria and will never show symptoms but can then disperse germs into the air and infect the other dogs in that area.
How is it spread? There are numerous ways, but the most common is in the air or Face-to-Face interactions. Less common ways are bedding and communal water bowls.
What do I do if my dog starts coughing? First, Don't Panic! Your dog will be ok. Most vets will just prescribe some cough suppressants to help with the cough. While I have known other vets that put dogs on antibiotics along with the cough meds. So the best thing to do is call your vet and see what they think. Some vets will also just have you pick up medication especially if they have seen your dog recently. If they do ask you to come in, I suggest that you leave your dog in your car until they have a room ready. When you sit in the waiting area with a coughing dog you are just contaminating their facility and all of the dogs that are coming in that day. Also, if your dog is coughing please do not bring them into the kennel, but we would love a phone call. If no one lets us know their dog is showing signs we cannot do anything extra about it, like warning our other clients.
How long until I can bring my dog back into the kennel? Anywhere from 10 to 14 days after they first started showing symptoms.
My Opinions about 6 month vaccines vs. yearly:
I have not seen a difference in dogs that get the 6 month vaccine vs. dogs that get the yearly vaccine. Dogs that get the shot every 6 months have contracted kennel cough just as much as dogs that get the vaccine yearly. I have also known dogs that have a horrible reaction to the vaccine; stop getting it done and have never gotten kennel cough. So who knows who will get it and who won't. We ask everyone to stay away at least 2 weeks after they get their Bordetella vaccine. Our daycare clients we ask that they stay away at least 3 to 4 days after they have the vaccine.
Kennel cough is a risk that you take when you allow your dog into a social setting with other dogs. We will not pay for any vet bills that occur if your dog gets kennel cough. So, if you never want to deal with this then I suggest you do not let your dog leave your property. Also, just because it is called kennel cough does not mean that you can only get it from the kennel; you can get it from anywhere dogs gather. For example you are taking an obedience class, 3 dogs in that class go to daycare and 3 dogs go to another boarding kennel and you come here. Now you have picked up whatever was going on at those facilities and have brought it into our facility. This also goes for vet clinics, dog parks, dog shows, grooming salons and pet stores.
Remember information changes so much and so quickly that I have read stuff that says kennel cough is not zoonotic and I have read stuff that says it is. I do know that many clients who are doctors have said that the Bordetella bacteria is the same bacteria that causes Whooping Cough in humans, so I guess you could technically get that bacteria from your dog?? There are also a lot of other viruses that are presenting the same symptoms as kennel cough but they are actually not kennel cough. Lastly, just know that I would never wish kennel cough on any dog and it is the last thing we want here. I bring my dogs to work with me everyday and I don't want them sick as much as you don't want your dog sick. So we truly do everything in our power to not spread bacteria and viruses in the kennel. Thank you for taking the time to read this, Melissa