With all of the chaos happening around us thanks to COVID-19, it can be difficult to remember that other icky things are lurking about. One of those things is especially tricky to deal with as it affects our furry loved ones more than us. Kennel cough, a common respiratory infection, is a highly contagious bacterium that’s especially fond of kennels.
How can you ensure that your kennel stays safe for your boarding clients? We’re here to help! Below is our guide for what signs to look for and what to do should a kennel cough outbreak occur. Let’s dive in.
What Is Kennel Cough?
“Kennel Cough” is a name given to a broad spectrum of causes that result in similar outcomes. The most notorious is caused by bacterium called Bordetella bronchispetica m and can cause a bad time for your boarders. The most common symptom is a dry, persistent cough, but some dogs may also experience symptoms like eye discharge or a runny nose.
Bordatella can spread rapidly as it travels through the air and infect multiple dogs at the same time. According to WebMD, kennel cough is not a life-threatening illness. That said, no one wants to have their pup get sick, so it’s essential to pay attention and stop an outbreak before it spreads.
How To Prevent The Spread Of Kennel Cough
The first step for preventing an outbreak in your facility is taking appropriate measures to ensure your kennel is inhospitable for the Bordatella bacterium. Here are a few tips for how you can make that happen:
- Keep your space well-ventilated – Kennel cough is transmitted through the air, so having adequate ventilation can work wonders.
- Don’t overcrowd your facilities – Less is absolutely more when it comes to ensuring the safety of your furry guests. Make sure the dogs have separate spaces to play, eat, and nap. Having dedicated areas rather than a single open concept floorplan reduces the stress or overwhelm the dogs may have while also keeping them safe from a viral outbreak. Feel free to contact us at Horizon Structures with your space requirements, as we may be able to give customized recommendations for how you can optimize your kennel space.
- Require bordetella vaccines for all dogs entering your kennel – Bordatella vaccines are readily available at most veterinary offices and aren’t very expensive. Requiring this vaccine for your borders may not prevent an outbreak completely but will vastly reduce the severity of the infections and keep the dogs safe.
What Should I Do If There’s A Kennel Cough Outbreak?
Sometimes kennel cough shows up no matter how many precautions were taken. So what should you do if a kennel cough outbreak is seen at your facilities?
- Don’t panic – Kennel cough is extremely common in places where multiple dogs hang out, so don’t feel like you’ve done something wrong or that your clients will go to a competitor. Being proactive and transparent is the best method to take in situations like this, and most dog owners will understand the situation.
- Start a record of symptoms – The dog’s vets will want to know how long the symptoms have been showing. It’s okay if you don’t know the specifics, but giving the pet owners any information possible will be appreciated.
- Notify the owners – If your clients have left their dog in your care while they’re on vacation, try to contact them or their emergency contact as soon as possible and get their permission to take their dog to the vet for treatment. Don’t avoid telling the owners; it’s more important that you be as transparent as possible than trying to appear like everything is fine.
- Immediately isolate any dogs showing symptoms – If you can, try to remove the dog showing signs of infection from the rest of the group and quarantine them until either the owner comes back or a vet has given them a checkup.
- Deep clean the kennels – You don’t want kennel cough to linger on clothing or other soft materials, so make sure that all surfaces are cleaned and sterilized with bleach or antibacterial cleaning products.
- Well-ventilate all areas – Break out the industrial fans while cleaning to help push out any airborne bacterium that may still be lingering.
- Follow up with all recent boarding clients – If there is an outbreak, be sure to send a note home with the dogs letting their owners know when the outbreak was noticed and what steps have been taken. They may want to send their dogs to the vet for a checkup or a vaccination booster to be extra sure their pup is healthy.
Respiratory infections are terrible for everyone involved. It’s especially heartbreaking to deal with when it’s a dog that’s infected, as they can’t understand what’s happening or why. Taking the steps above to ensure that your kennel is cough-free will go a long way to keeping your clients, both furry and not, happy, healthy, and coming back.