🦠 Understanding the Canine Respiratory Illness

What is this mystery illness affecting dogs across the Unites States

🦠What is this thing that’s going around?!?

Reports of a respiratory illness afflicting dogs have put many dog owners on edge in recent weeks. Some canines have even died as a result but this thing seems to be a bit overblown so we wanted to do some research on our own. 🕵️

A variety of dog breeds have been affected by the illness, which has symptoms are similar to Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex, or kennel cough. That's a highly contagious respiratory disease, which affects the dog’s breathing passages and the lungs.

While the illness mimics kennel cough, its symptoms do not diminish with kennel cough treatments. Humans and other pets are not believed to be at risk from the illness.

What’s causing the illness – which doesn’t yet have a name – is unknown. However, researchers in New Hampshire say they have identified a pathogen, an organism that causes disease in a host, that may be causing the illness.

“At this point in time, I don’t think there is reason for extreme alarm,” said Dr. Deborah Silverstein, a professor of small animal emergency and critical care medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Ryan Veterinary Hospital. “I do think it’s a time to be cautious and to stay informed.”

Here are the symptoms of the 2023 mystery dog illness…

Hundreds of dogs in as many as 16 states have contracted a mysterious respiratory illness that has spread across the U.S. since August.

Dog sickness map: Which states have reported dog respiratory sickness?

🚨 How can you protect your client’s dogs from this respiratory illness?🚨

While information about this outbreak is still coming out and working in this industry makes for some circumstances that are unavoidable, here are some of the fast tips to follow to stay ahead in your grooming business….

  • Make sure the dogs you take in are fully vaccinated.
  • Monitor - Review the dogs coming through your shop for signs of infection and contact any clients to reach out to their vet as soon as possible if symptoms occur.
  • Separate & Stagger - We know how this disease typically spreads is through droplets and face-to-face interactions, so try to avoid these scenarios. Stagger grooming appointments if possible.
  • Sanitize - Disinfect your equipment between every appointment. Make sure dogs do not share water bowls or kennels. Make sure all leads and towels are clean and fresh for each dog.
  • Be Transparent - Include a disclaimer in any agreements or correspondence that your customers may receive to signal you are aware and ahead of the situation.

Looking for some help on what to say to customers? Steal this email template to get ahead of this and keep your clients informed…

💡 To our loyal clients,

We have been made aware of the canine respiratory virus/bacterial infection going around the country. We are doing our part in keeping all of our clients safe by restricting any pets exhibiting any respiratory issues such as coughing, hacking, or sneezing into our facility.

We are also keeping our salons clean by sanitizing between each groom throughout the day - including kennel areas and our equipment as well.

We do ask that if you have traveled within the past 2 weeks or your dog has boarded in a kennel, please quarantine for at least 1 week before making any appointments so we can ensure the safety of all of our furry friends.

If your pet is not fully vaccinated or has pre-existing health conditions, we ask you to coordinate with your veterinarian on the appropriate grooming plan for your pet.

We thank you for your cooperation during this time. We know all vets are working hard to find a vaccine for this sickness.

If you have any questions, please let us know!

{your shop name} staff

Or feel free to print this poster to put at your front desk - Safe and Healthy Dog Tips and Tricks

No, literally use these resources… We created them for you!

Infection control is typically pretty straightforward and boring (which is why it often gets neglected). There’s nothing really fancy and it’s mostly pretty low tech – mainly a matter of using some good general practices and a solid dose of common sense. So here’s our final take on this topic…

  • There’s lots of fearing mongering here, but nothing’s really changed. A majority of healthy dogs remain unaffected.
  • Ramp up the sanitization at your salon to keep any outbreaks away.
  • Communicate with your clients! Transparency is key (steal our guides from above!)
Alex Martin
Top story
December 15, 2023

Get our weekly email

Find the best of our tales, tails, & tips in your email inbox at the end of every week - for free!