As the weather warms up, taking the dogs for a walk or to the park can sound like fun. One concern to be aware of though: Kennel Cough is spreading in the Central Oregon community.
Though there’s not a serious need to worry about Kennel Cough — it is similar to the human cold — it still helps to be informed.
“If dogs can be six paws apart and wear masks that would be wonderful, but that’s not going to happen,” said Dr. Byron Maas a veterinarian at the Bend Vet Clinic.
With an increase of Kennel Cough cases in the Central Oregon community, some pet owners are keeping a special eye on their pups.
“I’ve heard it before, maybe from rescues and stuff,” said Nate Stephens, the owner of Neko the dog.
“I actually work at a dog kennel, so I do. It just kind of happens seasonally,” said Haley Steen, the owner of Pistachio the dog.
“The gentleman mentioned ‘Oh, watch your dogs in the dog parks because there’s kennel cough going around,’” said Regan Shorter, the owner of Lady Lass the dog.
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According to Dr. Maas, a strain of the disease caused by micro-plasmas is going around, and it can be tough to avoid.
“Micro-plasma isn’t something you can totally protect against,” Dr. Maas said “The best way, just like COVID and all the things we’ve seen, is to protect your dogs by keeping them separate from other dogs.”
Dr. Maas says most of the cases of kennel cough he’s seen come from dog parks.
Dogs can spread micro-plasmas easier in large groups and especially through communal water bowls and toys.
“If your dog does have symptoms of kind of a croopy cough, be aware of it. Do some good, common sense and don’t take that dog to a dog park and keep it isolated just for a little while until the symptoms clear,” Dr. Maas said.
If symptoms get worse, getting treatment from a vet is recommended.
However, because Kennel Cough is common like the cold, it’s mostly harmless.
“We do stay out of the dog parks because of the fact they’re getting more crowded,” Shorter said.
“By just being more aware of that generally and keeping an eye out for dogs that might have it but we’re around dog parks everyday,” Stephens said.
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Another seasonal cause for coughing in your pup could be cheatgrass. That dry grass which dogs love to chew on can get stuck in their throat and cause dryness.
Monitoring symptoms and avoiding the community dog bowls are the best ideas for now.