Dogs

How to Keep Your Dog Safe From This Rapidly Spreading Canine Disease

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A canine infectious disease is breaking out in South Florida Miami-Dade County that is spreading rapidly across the region. The disease is CIRDC, also known as ‘kennel cough.’ As none of us want our best paw pals to feel under the weather, this is not great news.

Those who have dogs have been advised by local Animal Services organization to stay vigilant. Although kennel cough is extremely common, it should be taken seriously, as it can potentially lead to more serious pet health issues. Here’s everything you need to know about the disease, symptoms, treatment, and precautions you can take to ensure your beloved canine stays safe and healthy.

What is CIRDC?

CIRDC stands for canine infectious respiratory disease complex. The ‘virus’ is actually a number of different viruses combined, all of which come together in a dog’s respiratory track. According to Dr. Maria Serrano, Chief Veterinarian at Miami-Dade Animal Services, the disease can lead to severe infection, namely pneumonia. Because CIRDC is so incredibly infectious, it’s important to follow safety guidelines set by animal experts and city officials in your area.

How is canine infectious respiratory disease spread?

CIRDC is highly contagious, and actually functions similarly to COVID-19 in humans, which is transmitted through airborne particles or droplets. CIRDC can also be passed from dogs who are asymptomatic carriers of the disease, meaning they have no apparent symptoms.

It is also spread through dog to dog contact, and outbreaks are often found in places where dogs congregate: dog parks, pet stores, animal shelters, and dog kennels, groomers, and daycare facilities. For this reason, be sure to avoid taking your dog to these places until the outbreak dies down.

What are the symptoms of CIRCD?

You always want to be in tune with your dog’s mood and appetite changes, because it’s often via these things that give us signs our pup isn’t well. With CIRCD however, the first and most obvious symptom is a cough that sounds like there’s a bone stuck in the dog’s throat. It might sound like your dog is retching, but it’s actually a cough.

If you notice your dog is coughing frequently, contact your vet straight away. It’s always better to be safe than sorry — especially when it comes to our favorite furry friends! Here are the other symptoms in addition to a cough to watch for:

  • Nasal discharge (runny nose)
  • Eye discharge or crustiness
  • Hoarse ‘honking’ instead of barking — a sign of canine laryngitis
  • Sneezing
  • Retching
  • Lethargy (more tired than usual)

Symptoms can last seven to 10 days. If they get worse, or do not go away, owners should contact their local veterinarian immediately.

How can I protect my dog from CIRCD?

If your dog does contract CIRCD and is diagnosed by a vet, there are treatments available. However, here are some suggestions that could protect your pup from getting sick in the first place:

  • Ask your vet about the kennel cough vaccine.
  • Try and keep your dog away from heavy dog-populated areas during the outbreak.
  • If you are boarding your pup, make sure the facility has regular disinfectant safety checks and that your dog is up to date on all vaccinations beforehand.

Watching your favorite pets in pain is no fun. But if you do your best to keep them happy and healthy, they will have less chance of getting sick. After all, for most of us, our pups aren’t just pets — they’re our best friends and deserve the greatest care we can give them!

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