Rise in ‘kennel cough’ in Minot-area dogs

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 5:11 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. – A rise in cases of canine infectious respiratory disease, or more commonly known “kennel cough” seems to be making its way around Minot or at least some form of it.

The term “kennel cough” is more of a blanket term and could be a number of illnesses including Bordetella to pneumovirus. In any case, it poses a threat to our four-legged friends.

Janie Maitland has had her beloved canine companion Rooster for more than three years. While normally being a happy playful pup, Maitland noticed something just wasn’t right after boarding Rooster at a local kennel for a few days.

“I think the first thing that made me think, ‘This is not normal,’ was when he started vomiting this white flehm, foamy substance,” said Janie Maitland, a local dog owner.

Worried and scared, Maitland reached out to her vet tech friends and browsed the web, all leading to one answer, ‘kennel cough’.

“He wasn’t able to keep any food down. That was really scary and he’s a little piglet, he loves his food. He gets really excited about dinner time and so for him to not even really get excited about and not being able to hold food down, I knew. I had a pit in my stomach,” said Maitland.

Rooster started to recover after days of rest and hydration, though he still has coughing spells every now and then.

He’s not the only dog in the area getting sick.

“We have seen a lot of coughing dogs in the past six weeks. For a variety of reasons, we have tested a handful of them, most of them have come back negative on the 11 things tested for. We did have one positive,” said Dr. Ron Thunshelle, a veterinarian with Pinkerton Animal Hospital.

The viruses can be passed to other dogs, similar to humans passing the cold virus, making places like dog parks and kennels ideal for the virus to spread. Maitland said she wants all pet owners to be extra cautious.

“Ask questions. Make sure you are going to a good kennel, make sure it’s a clean kennel. Look at reviews. Make sure your dog has all their vaccinations and get them done well ahead of time,” said Maitland.

Testing for kennel cough-related viruses are done through PCR, which can be costly to owners. They also have vaccines for several of the viruses, which are given with their annual distemper shot.

Dr. Thunshelle added that if you suspect your dog may be sick with a kennel cough related virus to give them plenty of rest and to reach out to your local vet if your dog is not wanting to eat or drink or becoming lethargic.

It’s worth noting too that this is not intended to discourage people from boarding dogs at kennels, but rather to know what to do if your four-legged friend comes down with an illness.

Also, dog owners should avoid taking their dog to kennels, the dog park, or anywhere else they would be in close proximity to other dogs for a couple of weeks after symptoms go away, to avoid the spread of germs.

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