Local veterinarian offices are warning dog owners about a spike in sickness seen across the city. Some vets are telling owners not to venture out if unnecessary, making the timing of Tuesday’s ribbon cutting of Castlen Dog Park less than ideal.
Sarah Nelson McLamb, part of the management team at Kentuckiana Animal Clinic, said her office has closed boarding and grooming services for the week because of the volume of sick patients they have seen.
“We have sent out tests, but we don’t have a cause yet,” she said. “We are getting a lot of negative test results, so we are not sure what we are dealing with, if it’s contagious and how quickly it spreads.”
Nelson McLamb said dogs are presenting with a cough and white mucus, but do not have a common link. She said some have been to groomers or boarding facilities, but others have just been at family homes and not around other dogs.
“We are telling our patients not to venture out,” she said.
Nelson McLamb said Combest Pool’s annual Gone to the Dogs earlier this month likely spread the sickness, though at no fault of the event or organizers.
“This is probably bad timing for the dog park,” she said.
Dr. Whitney Bruce of Wills Animal Hospital said her office is also seeing a higher volume of sick dogs, but said it is typical to see waves of cases just like humans see increases in the diagnosis of the flu.
“This has nothing to do with grooming or boarding facilities,” she said. “Last year we had a wave of general respiratory infections.”
Bruce said there have been no in-house cases at Wills, but several patient tests have come back positive for Bordetella, or kennel cough, but even that is not a serious diagnosis. Severe cases can require antibiotics, but dogs recover from kennel cough.
Wills has not suspended any services at its office, but doctors are taking extra precaution if a dog presents with a cough.
“We are trying to keep all coughing patients in their cars and we will examine them there,” she said, adding that doctors are using disposable stethoscopes and changing their coats to avoid exposing other patients.
If owners are going to have their pets in public and around other dogs, Bruce said the dog needs to have a Bordetella and flu vaccine. She said often times owners think one or both of these are seasonal, but she said these vaccines need to be up to date year round.
The City of Owensboro will open the Castlen Dog Park, located in Legion Park, on Tuesday, Aug. 20 at 3 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting event.