Bordetella, the “kennel cough”: Preventing Dog Colds

June 6, 2012

There was recently a story on the news about an outbreak of Bordetella in the East Bay.

Let’s start by clarifying one important thing: unfortunately, Bordetella is sometimes and inaccurately referred to as “kennel cough”, it is important to remember that Bordetella is an airborne virus that can be contracted anywhere dogs are in close physical contact with other dogs. This contact can occur any place: in a dog park, at the groomers, the veterinarian’s office, or even just walking down the street. It’s physical proximity that matters not where that physical proximity takes place.

So what is Bordetella and why do we care? Bordetella is a virus of the respiratory system – in many ways it is similar to the common human cold. For an otherwise healthy dog, some veterinarians take no action and some others prescribe antibiotics to ward off a secondary infection. The real issue, just like with a human cold, is that it is extremely contagious. And just like toddlers, dogs have not mastered coughing or sneezing into the inside of their elbows to prevent the spread.

So when you’re looking for a quality daycare or lodging facility to take your dog make sure they take the same safety precautions we do:

• require proof of vaccines (including Bordetella) for all dogs;
• have a well-designed and implemented disinfecting regime; and,
• has an excellent ventilation system that actually moves air rather than letting it just passively float out the door.

All that said, humans who have received a flu vaccine may still contract the flu. The good news is the probability and severity is greatly lessened. The same is true of a dog who has received a Bordetella vaccine.  Whether they are at the dog park, veterinarian or pet care facility, or staying at an amazing facility, they might still contract Bordetella.

So what are we doing at Pet Camp to protect all of our guests? Rest assured, we’ve always had and will always have a robust superior dog boarding health and safety plan:

• far surpassing industry standards, we have a complete changeover of the air every 4 and half minutes (this means a lot more than simply having a window or rollup door open – it means big fans moving lots of fresh air);
• we even have an extra breeze at dog nose height to help whisk away any germs since that’s where it starts;
• we disinfect all of our aisles, campsites and play areas at least twice a day; and,
• we require proof of vaccines including Bordetella for all our dog campers.

And, just like with kids, you can do all sorts of things but the minute they start playing with other kids there is a chance that they will catch something. We think that having a happy, active and well socialized dog far outweights the risk.  Thanks for reading.

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