The BC SPCA is warning dog owners to be aware of a strain of kennel cough showing up in the dog population in B.C.
“We first started seeing cases in dogs coming into our facilities in July and began hearing of similar cases in the community, particularly in the Kamloops region,” says Dr. Emilia Gordon, senior manager of animal health for the BC SPCA.
“Any dogs in our care who were showing symptoms were immediately isolated, but as we began testing for known viruses and bacteria, the tests kept coming back negative. After consulting with specialists, we believe the cause could be a virus that isn’t detected by commercially available tests.”
BC SPCA officials are urging owners to isolate their pets if they notice coughing and to seek veterinary advice.
Dr. Gordon said they are raising awareness with veterinarians and the public to try to prevent the spread of disease.
“Because the causative agent is unknown we want to make sure that people are vigilant in isolating their dogs immediately if they start coughing,” she said.
According to the BC SPCA, in addition to coughing a small number of infected dogs had eye or nasal discharge.
“None of the dogs have become seriously ill and all are recovering, but the concerning aspect of these cases is how aggressively the disease has spread between dogs, even if they weren’t in close contact,” says Dr. Gordon.
“Most affected dogs were vaccinated, so while we still recommend the vaccine to reduce illness, it appears that we may be dealing with a virus that is not part of the current vaccine.”