Memo Regarding Oregon Respiratory Dog Illness
To all clients,
We are writing you to address many dog owner’s concerns about recent news articles regarding a respiratory illness in dogs that is circulating in the Willamette region of Oregon. You can read the official statements from the AVMA and the OVMA here. Understandably, you may be concerned about this as it is affecting pets in a nearby region and very little is known about it yet. As of right now, we are not aware of any cases in Washington State but we wanted to reach out to you about what you can expect from us as a partner in your pet’s care. (See update below)
Most articles available on this issue state that the majority of pets who have contracted it have mild cases. The dogs who suffer more serious complications seem to fit the following criteria: seniors, young puppies, and dogs already in delicate health. If you are boarding with us a dog that fits any of these descriptions, we recommend consulting with your veterinarian before boarding and carefully considering the risk.
We are going to be seeing many of you over the next two months for the holidays. While we require vaccines and use high quality virucidal products and procedures, there is no 100% effective way to prevent the transmission of airborne respiratory illnesses when large groups of animals are present. Out of the hundreds who will pass through our care in good health, it is inevitable that there will be a small handful that may contract illness either while in our care or even shortly after departure depending on where they’re at in the incubation period of the bug. Unfortunately, respiratory illnesses are contagious before symptoms are evident, so a dog who is ill will have already been spreading it by the time the dog shows visible symptoms. If a dog is presenting symptoms prior to or upon arrival at our facility, we cannot and do not accept them. If a dog in our care shows any signs of coughing, sneezing, and/or nasal discharge, we have the following protocols in place: 1) we call you (the owner) to get you in the loop right away, 2) move the pet into our dedicated isolation room, 3) use quarantine and disinfection procedures when caring for/interacting with the pet, 4) discontinue regular activities in order to achieve the rest necessary for healing and for proper quarantine procedures, 5) start on vitamin C for immune support and cough tablets to soothe their throat, and 6) monitor closely in case veterinary care is needed.
Like human coughs and colds, there isn’t a medication a vet can prescribe that would cure them of the illness. However, a vet may, in some cases, prescribe antibiotics if they are experiencing severe symptoms. Antibiotics do not stop the pet from experiencing the illness or stop them from being contagious, but do hopefully lessen the potential of secondary complications. You are always welcome to request that we take your dog to your veterinarian no matter the severity of their case. Given the inherent heightened risk that boarding poses for dogs to potentially contract a respiratory illness, you would assume the veterinary costs incurred.
Lastly, we recommend that, if you are boarding with us in the near future, you do not visit dog parks. Unlike regulated communal settings, such as daycare facilities, your dog is far more likely to encounter unvaccinated dogs, potentially sick dogs, and dogs visiting from other regions (especially during times when people visit family for the holidays).
We hope that this communication will help ease your mind about where we stand as the people to whom you entrust your pet’s care. We are working with trusted local veterinarians to stay informed about this issue. If anything prompts more questions and concerns for you, please feel free to reach out to our Operations Directors, Chris Landin and Kelly Houghton, directly at the emails listed at the bottom of this letter. We are all animal lovers ourselves and understand how scary it can be to hear and see news stories about mysterious illnesses that could affect your beloved family members.
Chris Landin – firstname.lastname@example.org, (425)483-9333 ext. 114
Kelly Houghton – email@example.com, (425)483-9333 ext. 102
Update 12/2/23: As of yesterday, there are now two confirmed cases in Washington State, with both cases still recovering. Those cases were in Clark and Snohomish county. There are still no confirmed cases in King County. For the most up-to-date case information, we encourage you to take a look at the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s website.