Severe cases of kennel cough rising in the FM area

Experts warn pet owners to keep dogs at home if they're exhibiting symptoms
Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 6:52 PM CDT
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CASSELTON, N.D. (Valley News Live) -

With school back in session and fall around the corner, some people are preparing for cold and flu season. But, pet owners are dealing with some seasonal issues, too.

Experts in the area say a very agressive strain of kennel cough is rising at an alarming rate. While kennel cough is common this time of year, veterinarians are saying this year already seems worse than ever before.

Dr. Trevor Bjerke at Casselton Veterinary Service says, “It seems like every year has gotten worse for the last couple years, I remember last year me thinking to myself, ‘man this is a lot of kennel cough cases.’”

Kennel cough is the umbrella term for respiratory infections in dogs. The symptoms include coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose.

“This year, they’re not responding to our normal treatments,” explains Bjerke. He adds, ”I think what we’re dealing with this year is a viral infection.”

Bjerke even compares this years kennel cough outbreak to the COVID-19 epidemic.

He says, “We’ve been working with the NDSU lab and we’re trying to figure this out.”

Kennel cough is highly contagious to begin with, but this year, vets say they’re seeing kennel cough patients returning for additional treatment even after anti-biotics. In some cases, patients return having developed pneumonia and for some extreme cases, have to be euthanized due to the amount of suffering caused by kennel cough.

“We have to treat it early so they don’t get to be so severe,” warns Bjerke.

People in the veterinarian industry and pet services agree that as a pet owner, you should stay up to date on your dogs vaccinations, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely immune.

If your dog is showing symptoms of kennel cough, Bjerke recommends, “let’s keep them home and keep them seperated from all other dogs for the next couple weeks.”

Experts want to emphasize how important it is to keep your dogs home if they’re exhibiting symptoms, especially with what they’re seeing right now.