What is C.I.R.D.C.?
C.I.R.D.C. stands for Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex and is an umbrella term for several upper respiratory illnesses in dogs. It is commonly referred to as “canine cough” or “kennel cough” although the term “kennel cough” can be misleading, as it suggests that dogs can only contract C.I.R.D.C. in a kennel environment. This is simply untrue, as dogs can contract C.I.R.D.C. in all environments – even on walks and in their own yards!
Several different types of bacteria and viruses can contribute to C.I.R.D.C. - and it is not unheard of for dogs to be infected by two or more of these bacteria and/or viruses simultaneously. One of the more commonly known contributors is Bordetella, which we do require vaccination against. Although our dogs receive regular Bordetella vaccinations, they are not always effective because the vaccine only fights against several strains. Of course, it’s also very possible that Bordetella isn’t involved at all when a dog contracts C.I.R.D.C.
What are the symptoms?
- Coughing (especially when active – may sound like retching/gagging)
- Runny nose
- Runny eyes
The severity of symptoms varies and can be dependent on each individual dog’s immune system. In most cases the illness is mild, but this can depend on the organism that is causing the C.I.R.D.C. If you notice your dog developing symptoms like lethargy, fever, or changes in breathing then it is best to seek out immediate veterinary attention. You can also ask your vet to test for the organism that is causing the illness! If you do that, please let us know what your vet says.
How does it get into our facility?
In order for an illness to enter our facility, it has to be brought in! Most dogs with C.I.R.D.C. are contagious well before they start presenting symptoms. Perfectly healthy appearing, fully vaccinated dogs can come into our facility and spread an illness to their friends by just being dogs! In a daycare environment, dogs share space, play in close proximity to one another, and even exchange kisses from time to time. Think of kids getting sick in a daycare or school environment – well this is the doggie version! Just like in school, there may be 1 or 2 pups out sick at any given time, but it should not cause panic.
How do we try to prevent illness on a regular basis?
- We require proof of vaccinations and do regular vaccination checks
- We have separate HVAC units in each playroom with high quality air exchange
- Our HVAC units are equipped with UV lights and filters
- We have installed Petairapy units throughout our facility that circulate the air every 30 minutes and kill airborne viruses, bacteria, and allergens
- We change our water bowls often with a goal to sanitize every 30 minutes
- The K9 Grass we installed in each yard includes a built in antimicrobial mesh
- We clean daily with Stabilized Aqueous Ozone
- We watch for signs and symptoms of illness and send home pups who are showing symptoms
How can you help prevent the spread of illness?
- Don’t use multiple facilities! We ask that you please refrain from taking your dog to other daycare, boarding, and training facilities. The more you expose your dog to others, the more likely they are to bring an illness into our facility. We do currently offer daycare, boarding, training, and bathing services
- Keep your dog out of dog parks! Dog parks are completely unregulated. There is no way to know if dogs are vaccinated and owners often do not know what signs of illness to watch out for. Dog parks also cannot be cleaned and sanitized like our facility can
- Watch for symptoms and please keep your dog home if they are showing symptoms
With the recent articles coming out on a new “canine cough” type illness spreading, we recommend that you reach out to your veterinarian if you have any medical questions or are concerned about your dog’s immune system.