Columbia City Dog Park

Blue, a young Airedale Terrier, plays at the Columbia City Dog Park.

If you’ve taken your furry friend to the Columbia City Dog Park this month, be aware that it has come to the city’s attention there may have been an outbreak of the Bordetella virus at the park – more commonly known as kennel cough.

“One of our residents called in and her dog had been diagnosed with kennel cough, a younger dog, and she and several other people meet at our dog park for play dates,” Columbia City office clerk Laura Markham said. “That’s the only place that she knows of that she could have contracted it, and several of the other dogs got it, too. They were all quarantined for 10 to 14 days.”

Columbia City staff posted a notice on their Facebook page on May 2 to alert the community about the exposure to kennel cough. “If your dog is showing any symptoms, please don’t use the park,” the City stated. “Kennel cough is on the rise in the area and is highly contagious.”

So, what is kennel cough and what do you need to know to keep your fur-child safe and healthy?

Kennel Cough, also known as canine infections tracheobronchitis, is a respiratory disease considered to be highly contagious. Dogs tend to contract kennel cough in places where canines congregate, like dog parks and boarding and daycare facilities.

According to the American Kennel Club’s website, akc.org, if your dog has been affected, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • A strong cough, often with a “honking” sound, is the most obvious symptom
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low fever

Kennel cough is easily treatable in healthy dogs, and a vaccine is available for around $18. The vaccine for kennel cough works much like the flu vaccine for humans, in that the most prominent strain is chosen. It is possible your dog may have contracted a different strain of the virus; however, it is highly recommended by local vets if you use dog parks or board your dog regularly. 

If you notice signs of kennel cough in your pet, it is recommended that you keep them from socializing with other animals for at least two weeks – even if the cough subsides before that time.

Markham said Columbia City wasn’t trying to cause any alarm, but the reporting resident was concerned about making sure other dog owners are aware.

“Her concern was that people should keep their dogs home if they suspect that they have kennel cough and that’s what we were trying to convey,” Markham said. “If your dog has a suspicious bark or doesn’t seem up to snuff, it’s a good thing to stay out of the park, and if you’ve visited the park recently then that could be the issue.” 

For further information about kennel cough and how to treat your pet, contact your local veterinarian.

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