In the UK, after much debate, the citizens are returning to normal more or less after 18 months of Covid social distancing. All the rules about social distancing are coming to an end. Although people have been breaking the rules extensively, in my opinion, in any case. There has been a gradual loosening up in violation of government rules. That’s the first point to make. The second point is that there has been a lot of dog adoptions during the pandemic. This is been well-publicised on news media.
We’ve had more dog adoptions than usual and therefore more puppies and more inexperienced dog owners. As I recall about 2 million extra dogs were adopted during the extensive social distancing Covid rules in the UK. The experts had always predicted problems once we come out of the Covid pandemic. It isn’t just about a surge in kennel cough. There will also be a surge in relinquishments of dogs because some people made a mistake in adopting one on a whim or impulsively. They find they can’t cope because they’re going back to work in the office or because they didn’t budget for the cost of looking after dog properly. There are numerous reasons why there will be more dogs being abandoned to shelters or sold on the Internet now that we are getting back to normal.
And another problem will be kennel cough. Vets have reported a surge in dogs suffering from this common disease as lockdown puppies begin to socialise for the first time. Vets are encouraging dog owners to vaccinate their pets.
This highly contagious disease causes a hacking, retching cough which is very tough for a dog to deal with. The way owners deal with it is to isolate their dog until they resolve the owners themselves. However, in elderly dogs or very young puppies or those with health problems it can lead to serious complications.
It is caused by a variety of bacteria and viruses. It spreads rapidly to other dogs through playing with them or sharing toys or bowls and via contaminated surfaces.
One veterinarian who has reported on an increase in this disease is Dr. Danielle Dos Santos, senior vice-president at the British Veterinary Association. She said: “I am seeing increasing numbers of kennel cough, more than I would expect to see at this time of year. During the pandemic there has been an increase in dog ownership and now more dogs are coming out and socialising. This time last year people were still very much socially distance, but there is now an increasing mixing of dogs.”
She said that most often the condition is resolved by the dog and it disappears without treatment. Of course, if dog owners are concerned, they should see their veterinarian and if the dog is not vaccinated, she strongly recommends owners contact their vet to get it done.
The disease is difficult for both dog and owner because it is distressing for owners to see their dogs grappling with the disease. Bill Lambert, a health and welfare executive at the Kennel Club said that the cough can sound like an object is stuck in a dog’s throat.
Veterinarians typically give dogs an anti-inflammatory drug to deal with it. The owner of one dog who contracted the disease said that he drinks out of puddles and she believed that she may have picked it up there. Typically, cases are lowest in the spring and they double by the autumn. If a dog is healthy, they typically recover after resting for a couple of weeks with the assistance of an anti-inflammatory medication.
Dogs who got the disease should not mix with other dogs to protect them.