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January 16, 2010

Do YOU Know About Kennel Cough?

As people who are involved heavily in the pet industry here in Calgary we try to stay well informed about what goes on. Sometimes our customers who use our services tell us about their experiences when using another local business to provide them with services that we are unable to provide.

The folks who wrote the following letter are customers of
Canine Correction, our sister Dog Training company. We ask that our trainees write us and keep us up to date as to how well their training home work is going and to coach them along between sessions. Tje following is how it was going for them after they had used trhe kennel services at the Stonehaven Kennels.

"I had been wanting to send you an update on Crimson & Indigo but since coming back from our holidays it has been somewhat stressful at home. Both dogs had to be placed in a kennel - Stonehaven, during the Christmas break; I had to scramble to find someone who could take the dogs on short notice - everyone was booked up and every kennel I called said they had been booked for a couple of months or more. Stonehaven had a last minute cancellation and was able to take both the dogs.

So on Christmas Eve I dropped both dogs off at Stonehaven and felt reasonably ok leaving them behind; they gave me all kinds of reassurances and encouraged me to email or call them regularly. Their stay would include their own dog run, indoor/heated kennel and two 1/2 hour walks each day. I gave them enough food for the entire time they would be there - in fact, exactly enough food, along with some treats, their beds, and a few toys. I called a couple of times over the holiday and was told they were both fine, they didn't really eat the first day which was to be expected but otherwise they were settled in and happy to play outside in the snow. When I picked them up the morning of Jan 2 they were both so incredibly excited to see us - super hyper and flying around the round at lightning speed - it was so funny. I couldn't get over the fact they stunk like dirty wet dogs and was surprised at how much food I got back and again asked if they ate regularly; they assured me it was only the first day and that they didn't really want their can food - which is odd, at home it's the opposite.

We got them home and I noticed both dogs had lost some weight which convinced me they clearly did not eat (or weren't fed?) as often as I was told. By Saturday night both dogs fell asleep very early; I just figured they were happy to be home again and settled. Sunday morning Crimson was hard to get going, he seemed like he had very little energy and just wanted to sleep. Then I noticed his nose was dripping - not mucus like but clear and certainly running way more than I thought was normal. By mid-day he was sneezing and his energy levels were going down; Indigo did not display anything like that - until Monday. I stayed home with them on Monday then Tuesday I took them to my vet; they were due for their updated vaccines anyway but before she did she gave them a thorough check. Our vet said they both had a mild form of kennel cough and would probably be down & out for a few days; I had noticed the day before as well that Crimson's eyes had a discharge coming out of both eyes and then that morning it was very noticeable on both dogs - I had to wipe Crimson's eyes a couple of times in the course of an hour that morning. My vet asked me about the kennel and if they had insisted the dogs be vaccinated for kennel cough - no one at Stonehaven Kennels said anything about this and I had no idea what that was, so wasn't aware to ask about it either. Anyway, she didn't give them anything that day but told me to watch them and if they got worse to let her know.

By Thursday they were both definitely worse; all they wanted to do was sleep - no energy, ate very little and the discharge coming from their eyes increased and turned a puss-like colour. They both ended up having bacterial conjunctivitis and since it turned bacterial there was a good chance the viral kennel cough would too, so they were both put on antibiotic eye cream and antibiotics. They are now back to themselves - which is a real relief; I felt awful and extremely pissed off at the folks from Stonehaven. I did call them to let them know - the lady I talked to is the same one who settled up the bill with me when I picked up the dogs and after telling her everything she seemed really nervous to talk to me and quickly passed the phone over to one of the other owners. After telling her what happened she denied any wrong-doing or any connection to her kennel, she went on and on about the ventilation system there, how often the kennels and dog runs are clean and sanitized, and no one else has called her to say there was a problem with their dog or cat.

When I questioned her about ensuring dogs are vaccinated for kennel cough she said there is no point because the vaccination is developed in the states and similarly to the flu vaccine for humans it doesn't cover all strains so there's no guarantee anyway. I told her both my dogs were very healthy when I dropped them off but they both got sick so quickly after leaving there, that tells me they picked up something from that facility and at the very least she should be contacting the other dog owners to alert them there is a possibility their dogs may come down with something.

It's been a tough trying to get back into a routine again and to get them to the point where they were well-behaved during their walks. Times like this its hard not to get so discouraged. I am somewhat frustrated by all the recent events."

So we wanted to bring to everyone's attention and let you know that if you are ever going to take your poooches to a kennel, doggy daycare or any group type setting, it is esstential that you get your dog vaccinated with the Bordetella vacine. This is what prevents Kennel Cough. Mrs. Nate and I used to get this done for Mojo back when we took him to daycare once a week.

Here is an
article that helps explain the cause, symptoms and treatment of Kennel Cough.

Be sure to ask your vet about this. And in my opinion, any place that takes dogs into their care should insist that all owners have their dog's shots and vaccinations up-to-date!


  1. Poor dogs and owners....hope that Stonehaven Kennels have offered to cover some of the expenses.......

  2. Bordatella gets transferred when a dog meets another dog - no matter how clean a location or sanitized, if you subject your dog to other dogs - the risks are there. Blaming a kennel or daycare is somewhat unfair as dogs can contract from someone at a dog park or even a plain walk in the park or neighbourhood. The effects of the bacteria (such as hacking) usually doesn't appear till 7-10 days (up to 14 days) of incubation in the dog before showing signs of infection.

    Judging by when your friend dropped of their dogs, they could have easily contracted it before hand as well as their symptoms developed near the end of their stay.

    it is true the Kennel Cough vaccine only covers a few strains of Kennel Cough - just like the flu.. and although your dog or everyones dog might have the shot - there is no guarantee that your dog will be protected against kennel cough or various strains of it.

    Just like the flu shot is not a guarantee for humans - vaccinations are just a form of protection in hopes that your body builds up the defences to fight it if you do get infected.

    Dog owners have to remember, that if you choose to have your dog being cared for in an environment with other dogs - that is a risk you take.. just like schools, gyms etc. The more people we see, the more chance we get sick.. same for dogs.

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  4. Thanks Sunshine. I agree that vaccinations are never a guarantee regardless of whether they are for people or dogs. I personally don't believe in them, I've never gone to get my H1N1.

    In my opinion, I feel that Stonehaven should not have accepted the dogs without proof of all the required shots for the protection of this owner's dogs and the dogs already in their care.

    I used to take Mojo to doggy daycare once a week to the Superdog Spectrum. They would not even consider taking him until we had complied with all their rules regarding shots.

    Stonehaven may have overlooked this policy knowing that the owner was desperate due to the urgency of her situation.

    Also I find it a little upsetting that the dog owner did not even know about vaccinations for kennel cough in the first place. Our vet asked us right away if we wanted it done knowing we were exposing Mojo to group training and daycare.

    I wrote this blog specifically as an awareness effort for Bordatella.