Calusa Veterinary Center

Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC)

Most commonly referred to as Kennel Cough, this infectious respiratory disease can be caused by several viral and bacterial pathogens. Prevalence of various pathogens involved in CIRDC differs based on the geographical area and season. There is currently a virulent respiratory pathogen spreading rapidly across the United States. The cause is unknown, and the media has dubbed it "a mysterious respiratory illness".

By Dr. Cindy Krane, DVM

CIRDC is transmitted via contact by the mouth or nose with respiratory secretions that are sneezed or coughed into the air by a sick dog; by direct dog-to-dog contact; and via contaminated fomites (objects that can harbor infection like water bowls, food bowls, toys, and bedding). The incubation period from when one dog is exposed until they develop clinical signs can range for 2-10 days. The clinical signs include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge and in more severe cases lethargy and fever.

Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC)

Vaccination is key to controlling CIRDC. Veterinarians, boarding kennels and grooming shops should advise dogs to be current on the annual Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccination, and CIV (Canine Influenza Virus also known as Dog Flu) vaccination. The vaccine series consists of an initial vaccine with a doctor and a booster vaccine in 3 weeks followed by annual boosters. Dogs must be at least 8 weeks of age receive these vaccinations. Dog owners should exercise caution or avoid all together going to dog parks, doggy day care, boarding and grooming to minimize exposure to infectious diseases.

Environmental management is also crucial in reducing the spread of CIRDC. Clean all organic material from the surfaces (discharges/food/hairs and urine or stool). The pathogens are readily susceptible to routine disinfectants such as diute bleach . The cleaning product should be applied to all areas and have 10 minutes of contact time. Prevent pooling of water and keep surfaces as dry as possible to decrease microbial growth. Ventilation helps reduce the spread of CIRDC. Minimizing stress, reducing overcrowding, and decreasing the length of stay after their service has been performed, are all useful to prevent spreading of the disease.

At this time there is no available vaccine for the "mystery illness" and it will likely take scientists some time to figure out what the causative agent is (bacteria virus, or other) and to develop a vaccine. Veterinarians arecurrently vac cinating dogs for the known respiratory pathogens CIV and Bordetella with proven safe and effective vaccines. As soon as a vaccine has been developed to prevent the new respiratory disease it should be considered based on your dogs lifestyle and risk factors.

It is unknown what role COVID 19 has played in the emergency of the "mysterious respiratory illness". During the height of COVID dogs were not socializing nor were they getting routine veterinary care. This indirectly may have weakened dogs immune systems, lowered their defense and ability to fight new diseases.

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