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‘Canine coronavirus’: Vets warn dog owners of new kennel cough outbreak

Click to play video: 'Pandemic behaviour a factor in outbreak of kennel cough among Calgary dogs' Pandemic behaviour a factor in outbreak of kennel cough among Calgary dogs
Calgary dog owners are being warned about an outbreak of a highly contagious respiratory disease. As Gil Tucker reports, it appears to be linked to changes in their owners’ activitiy during the COVID-19 pandemic – Dec 3, 2020

Vets are raising the alarm about a highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs that has been growing in numbers.

Danny Joffe, the national medical director for VCA Animal Hospitals, said there are dozens of different viruses that can cause the disease in your pup. But he said a new one that is showing up is a kind of “canine coronavirus.”

“One thing we found in a recent study was a new pathogen, relatively new pathogen, in dogs and that’s a canine respiratory coronavirus,” Joffe said.

“Now, it’s totally different than COVID-19. They’re both coronaviruses, but this can’t go to people, it’s a respiratory infection in dogs,” Joffe said.

Read more: B.C. veterinarians blame COVID-19 pandemic for rise in kennel cough cases in dogs

Dr. Jenefer Stillion, a Calgary vet, told Global News at the beginning of December that her clinic was already seeing a big jump in kennel cough cases.

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“A lot of people have found themselves at home and not coming in for veterinary wellness care, and that would include things like vaccinations,” she said then.

Read more: Coronavirus: What Calgary veterinarians are doing to help pets

Joffe mentioned it’s not unusual to see spikes of the virus, and wants to assure dog owners that it’s not any worse than most of the other outbreaks.

“Every year or so we have an outbreak — just like people (do) with the flu,” Joffe said, but added that “it does seem like we’re seeing a lot of them in the last few weeks.

Joffe said a big reason why areas like Calgary and Edmonton are seeing outbreaks is likely because of the high number of urban coyotes that are in the same parks as dogs.

His advice for the best way to avoid the infection is to stay clear of dog parks and kennels while this outbreak is happening.

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