It's no secret that many dog owners are panicking at the thought of their beloved companion becoming ill and not having a clear understanding of how they can avoid their pet being affected. We've put together some tips on how to keep your pet safe and put your mind at ease as we all navigate through the unknowns of the "mystery illness" also known as Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease.

Signs and Symptoms of Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIRD)

  • Persistent Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal or Eye Discharge
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty Breathing

What to Do If Your Dog is Displaying Symptoms of CIRD

Contact your veterinarian for guidance. If you don't have a primary care veterinarian for your dog, click here to schedule an appointment with our team. 

What Can I Do to Prevent My Dog From Becoming Ill?

Ryan Southard, DVM says "The best thing is prevention so at this time I would not recommend situations that expose dogs to other dogs with unknown history such as boarding, daycare, groomers, parks until we have more information and updates on new cases.  The cause of the outbreak has not yet been identified and could be viral or bacterial.  Dogs should be kept current on kennel cough and ideally a bivalent influenza vaccine until the cause of the outbreak is identified."  

Keep Your Dog Home

As not only veterinary professionals but dog owners too the best advice that we have for you is to leave your dog at home. Many of us adore the sight of our dog(s) romping around at the dog park, strolling down the aisles of your local pet store, picking out toys and treats. While you may know if your dog is ill or not, you do not know the current status of other pet's vaccinations and health and it's best to not take your dog anywhere that is unnecessary. Dog parks, daycare, grooming facilities, pet stores, boarding etc can all lead to exposure to many unwanted illnesses for your dog. 

Keep Your Dog's Vaccinations Current

It's important to keep your dog's vaccinations current to protect them from illnesses such as kennel cough and canine parainfluenza at all times but it is especially important right now. The origin for Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIRD) is currently unknown and there is consideration that the prevention of not only kennel cough but also canine parainfluenza, both infectious upper respiratory illnesses in dogs, will offer cross protection against CIRD. 

I Need to Travel for the Holidays and Board My Dog, What Do I Do? 

In some cases exposing your dog to other dogs is unavoidable and inevitable. If you are planning to board your dog over the holiday season there are a few things to consider when selecting a facility to board your best friend. 

The cleanliness of the facility

  • Request a walk-through of the boarding facility 
    • If the boarding facility you pick for your dog does not allow you to schedule a walk through of the facility to view if it is well kept or not this would be a reason for concern and you may want to pick a different option for boarding. 
  • The boarding area should be clean and not have strong foul odors of urine or feces.
  • Keep in mind that boarding can be stressful and there may be a pet who makes a mess of their kennel occasionally but it is pretty easy to tell about the level of cleanliness a boarding facility based on condition of kennel areas and cleanliness of walls, kennel drains, and unoccupied kennels. 

Opt out of the daycare option

  • If you normally board your dog at a facility that also offers daycare services and/or interactions with dogs from outside of your household, you will want to opt out of this service for now. 
  •  Boarding will come with its own risks and exposure but playing with other dogs and coming in contact with them, sharing water dishes, toys, and other common areas will increase the risk of your dog's exposure to illnesses. 

Ask about the facility's requirements for boarding

  • Rabies, Distemper/Parvo Vaccinations are required for boarding in the state of Iowa. Seek out a facility that requires additional preventative measures such as requiring the bordetella (kennel cough) vaccination and stool sample screenings, flea and tick prevention etc. 
    • While likely parasites are not related to the outbreak of CIRD it's important to ensure that your dog won't return home with things like fleas or roundworms, due to the lack of preventatives required. 

Help Protect Other Dogs from Becoming Ill

If your dog is showing symptoms of Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease or other illnesses, keep them home and contact your veterinarian immediately. Do not take them around other dogs even if all of the dogs are vaccinated. 

What is Family Pet Veterinary Center doing to prevent the spread of CIRD during boarding?

Boarding Intake Exams

Upon check-in our DVMs will complete an intake exam for your dog to screen for illnesses. Dogs showing symptoms of CIRD or other illnesses will not be admitted to boarding and dog owners will be required to find an alternative to boarding to ensure the safety of other pets within our facility.  

Continuous Monitoring for the Onset of Illness During Your Dog's Boarding Stay

Our boarding team is highly skilled and trained to monitor your pet throughout their boarding stay. With a team of technicians and veterinarians at their finger tips, it's easy for our boarding team to keep your pets safe. Our team tracks your pets activity level, behavior, appetite and urination and defecation throughout the entirety of their stay. This aides our team in identifying potential illnesses or stress in pets quickly. 

Clean Facility

We pride ourselves on not only taking great care of your pet during their boarding stay but we keep our facility very clean. Our team has a consistent sanitation strategy and kennels are always cleaned and sanitized prior to being occupied by another boarding pet. Pet food and water bowls are sanitized daily and bedding is kept clean and fresh. 

We Rely on You to Do Your Part to Keep Our Pets Safe

If your dog is not feeling well and they have an upcoming boarding stay we kindly ask that you notify our team immediately. In cases related to CIRD or other Canine Upper Respiratory illnesses we ask that you keep your pet home instead of boarding.

Contact Us

As always, if you have any questions or concerns contact us