In recent times, a concerning trend has emerged within our community – an uptick in respiratory diseases affecting our beloved pets. As responsible pet owners, it's crucial to stay informed and take proactive measures to protect our furry friends. In this service page, we shed light on Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC), commonly known as Kennel Cough, and provide valuable insights into its signs, transmission, diagnosis, treatment, and preventive measures.

Understanding Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC)

CIRDC, or Kennel Cough, is a highly contagious respiratory illness affecting dogs of all breeds and ages. While the term "kennel cough" may suggest a higher risk in settings like kennels, shelters, and daycare facilities, the truth is that all dogs are susceptible to this condition.

Signs of CIRDC

The hallmark sign of CIRDC is a sudden, frequent honking cough that may be accompanied by gagging or retching, sometimes with frothy vomit. Additionally, dogs with CIRDC may exhibit sneezing, a runny nose, or watery eyes. It's important to note that not all dogs with CIRDC will display a cough, and symptoms may vary.

In mild cases, dogs typically recover within 7 to 10 days. However, severe cases may manifest with lethargy, decreased appetite, fever, productive cough, and rapid or labored breathing, indicating potential bacterial pneumonia. Dogs infected with certain organisms, such as the canine distemper virus, may also show gastrointestinal and neurologic signs.

Transmission of CIRDC:

CIRDC can be caused by various bacteria and viruses, including Bordetella bronchiseptica, canine parainfluenza virus, and canine adenovirus type 2. It spreads through respiratory droplets, direct contact with infected dogs, or contaminated surfaces. Crowded environments like kennels and daycare facilities pose a higher risk.

Can Cats Become Infected?

Yes, certain CIRDC-associated bacteria and viruses, including Bordetella bronchiseptica, Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus, and canine influenza virus, can infect and cause illness in cats.

Do Infected Dogs Need to Avoid People?

Generally, infected dogs do not need to avoid people. Bordetella bronchiseptica is the only CIRDC-associated organism known to infect people, and cases of dog-to-human transmission are extremely rare, typically occurring in severely immunocompromised individuals.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suspect your dog has CIRDC, prompt veterinary attention is crucial. Diagnosis involves a thorough examination and may include laboratory tests or imaging. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition and may include supportive care, antibiotics for bacterial infections, and medications to alleviate symptoms.

Preventing CIRDC

Protecting your dog against CIRDC involves several key strategies: 

  • Vaccination: To safeguard your pets, it's crucial to keep their vaccinations updated for Bordetella, Adenovirus 2, parainfluenza, and canine influenza, even if not due at this time, to provide maximum immunity to deal with this respiratory outbreak.
  • Hygiene: Practice good hygiene by regularly cleaning your dog's living area and avoiding shared items in communal spaces.
  • Isolation: If your dog shows signs of illness, keep them isolated from other dogs to prevent the spread of the disease.
  • Consultation: Seek veterinary advice on preventive measures tailored to your dog's lifestyle and risk factors.

At North Oatlands Animal Hospital, we are committed to the health and well-being of your pets. If you have concerns about respiratory diseases or would like to schedule a wellness check, contact us today. Together, let's ensure a healthy and happy life for your furry companions!

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We are closed Monday - Friday from 12pm - 1pm for lunch.

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Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Tuesday: 10:00am - 7:00pm
*Saturdays: 9:00am - 2:00pm
*We are currently closed on Saturday. However, we do have availability at our Leesburg Location – Schedule an Appointment
We are closed Monday - Friday from 12pm - 1pm for lunch.