Dogs fall prey to seasonal disease
IT’S not just humans who get the sniffles with a change of season.
Vets across the Northern Rivers have reported an increase in the number of dogs they are seeing with ‘kennel cough’ this summer.
A breeding ground for the disease has been the dog-friendly stretch of Tallow Beach at Suffolk Park, where at least 10 dogs are thought to have fallen ill in the past fortnight.
Vet Rowen Trevor-Jones, from the Byron Bay Veterinary Clinic, said there had been up to four cases of kennel cough reported to them each week since summer began.
He said it was a highly contagious disease, which explains why dogs that had been socialising at Suffolk Park had become infected.
“It’s an airborne disease, so close contact is what causes it,” Mr Trevor-Jones said.
“They’re trying to change the name to canine cough because it’s not strictly something that occurs in kennels.”
Mr Trevor-Jones said it was rare for dogs to die of the disease, but they could become very sick.
“You could compare it to whooping cough in humans,” he said. “It can be quite severe.”
Suffolk Park resident Mick Campbell’s border collie cross Irish wolfhound Charis is one of the dogs that caught kennel cough at Tallow Beach. His housemate’s kelpie cross labrador Poppy has also fallen ill.
Both dogs are being kept at home to avoid spreading the disease further.
“It sounds like they’ve got a bone stuck in their throat,” Mr Campbell said.
“Charis hasn’t been herself. She’d still love to go to the beach, but we’re keeping her inside.”
Both dogs are also taking antibiotics to treat the illness.
Mr Trevor-Jones said a vaccination for kennel cough was included in annual injections for dogs, but it did not completely protect them from the disease, which was part virus and part bacteria based.
A staff member at the Lismore Veterinary Clinic said it had been ‘inundated’ with cases over the past few weeks and Ballina Veterinary Hospital reported several cases this season.