HELENA – The Lewis and Clark Humane Society is temporarily limiting public access after some of their dogs tested positive for kennel cough.
Infectious tracheobronchitis, commonly known as kennel cough, is a term used to describe respiratory infections for dogs and can be caused by either a bacterial or viral infection such as canine parainfluenza.
Kennel cough can be highly contagious in dogs and is transmitted through the air.
Symptoms of the illness are a persistent dry cough that may sound like there is something in the animal’s throat, having a runny nose and the loss of appetite.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) said the term “kennel” can be a bit of a misnomer for the illness though since it can be spread by any infected animal anywhere.
The AKC say the illness is easily treatable through medication, but if left untreated the animal can become much more susceptible to a secondary infection. The illness can be spread just as easily at a dog park as a boarding facility.
Because of this, the Humane Society is limiting the exposure of their dogs to the public to prevent any risk of exposing more animals to the illness.
Kennel cough can be transmitted between animals from the clothes of people that have come in contact with an infected animal.
Dog Program Coordinator Kat Martineau says that with the number of stray animals brought into the shelter dealing with illness like this is inevitable, but very rare due to their cleaning standards at the shelter.
Shelter staff thoroughly cleans the shelter every day in the morning to prevent disease and maintain cleanliness.
Martineau says that if people are interested in a dog they should still come in though.
“You guys can absolutely still come in [but] we can’t show the animals since we are limiting their handling,” said Martineau, “However our staff knows everything about these dogs. If you have questions we can answer them.”
Once all the infected dogs finish their 10-day round of medication they will be able to be shown to anyone interested in adopting them.
The Humane Society would also like to remind people that since there are seeing cases of kennel cough in the community it is highly recommended consult their vet if they show signs of a persistent dry cough.