Did You Know That Kids and Dogs Share This Common Ailment?
School’s in session!
Today’s assignment: sing Soul II Soul’s Back to Life, but switch the word ‘life’ to ‘school’. “Back to school, back to reality!”
Are the words coming out begrudgingly mopey, or are you like most of us (save teachers), busting into spirited Broadway-worthy song and dance? We don’t judge.
Something I’m sure you’ve noticed year in and out is that when kids go back to school, almost like clockwork, they come home with a back-to-school bug. As the years go by, parents understand that little immune systems need to adjust, as they return to sharing everything, hopefully nicely, with the other little learners, including germs. Upper respiratory infections (colds) are common and we know there is not much to do except let them rest, keep them hydrated, and let it pass.
The same is true for dogs who attend daycare. The ailments are different, not to worry, your dog and child won’t spread them to each other, but the idea is the same. Dogs too share–mostly with their mouths (think water bowls and toys). This also extends to outside of daycare. During all other social contact, your dog exposed to various germs. This contact happens at places like veterinary offices, shopping centers, dog parks, walking trails, and simply around your neighborhood. Just like for humans, it is unavoidable.
At the Lodge, we’re coming to the close of the busiest time of our year, and we are fortunate to be able to say it was a very healthy summer! While we see regulars all year long, many dogs who visit us infrequently stay during summer vacation time. Dogs who aren’t often exposed to germs outside the household are at the highest risk of catching a bug because they haven’t had the chance to build immunity. Stay tuned for our future post on boosting your dog’s immunity. At the Lodge, there are are measures we take to keep transmission of viruses to a minimum. This includes daily cleaning and sanitation of playrooms, boarding suites, and play yards, our five zone HVAC system, and high volume ionic air purifiers, use of Kangen Water, as well as monitoring of dogs for any signs of illness, with removal of any dogs from playgroups who are showing symptoms.
When it comes to canine bugs, I think sometimes owners get tripped up because they see canine physiology as mysterious. Dogs aren’t too different from humans. That’s to say that there is a time to worry when a dog is ill, but also many times, just like in school, when unavoidable non serious illnesses pass through. We all love our dogs so much and it’s always alarming when they aren’t feeling their best. Rest assured that as long as you keep them up to date on those vaccinations, it’s usually nothing you need to worry about too much. See the guide below to learn a little more about some common ailments:
Upper Respiratory Infections
Causes: Upper respiratory disease has many potential causes including parainfluenza, distemper, adenovirus, canine influenza, mycoplasma canis, and Bordetella bronchiseptica. Often, the agent causing the disease is spread before any symptoms are detected. Even symptom-free dogs can be contagious. Vaccinations are a good step to prevent or lessen the symptoms and duration of illness.
Some common symptoms of upper respiratory illnesses include:
- Cough – may be productive, producing phlegm or spit up, or dry and hacking
- Sneezing – with or without nasal discharge
- Discharge from the eyes
- Lethargy – general tiredness or decreased activity
- Vomiting or spitting up
If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, please keep them at home until your vet has cleared your dog to return to daycare.
Treatment: We recommend contacting your veterinarian if symptoms last more than 48 hours and/or worsen over time. If any tests, such as swabs or cultures are done, please be sure to let us, or any facility you visit, know the results so that proactive measures can be taken.
If a dog is showing signs of any illness during their stay with us, we take several steps to reduce the risk of transmission and exposure to our other dogs. The dog is removed from the play group and kept separated. The parents are notified and follow-up care or treatment is established.
Causes: Diarrhea has a wide array of causes. Commonly, it’s caused by excitement, stress, or a change in diet (including rich treats). At the Lodge, we have dogs continue on their own food from home when staying with us to eliminate dietary change issues. We also use a variety of Fear Free techniques to reduce stress. Less commonly, diarrhea can be a symptom of parasites or disease.
Treatment: For a mild case, adding boiled rice or pumpkin to their food is often enough to get things moving correctly again. Make sure you keep your dog hydrated. If diarrhea continues, seek veterinary treatment.
Causes: Full days of play can be enough to leave a dog tired for days, but exhaustion can also be a sign of illness.
Treatment: Rest. We recommend keeping an eye on your dog, and calling your vet if you see any other symptoms.
Hot spots, or acute moist dermatitis, are a common skin ailment in dogs.
Causes: These irritated lesions can be caused by anything that breaks the skin, including insect bites or scratching. They grow quickly and are red, moist, and hot. However, they aren’t as alarming as they look. They are generally bacterial, not fungal, and therefore not contagious.
Treatment: Be sure to keep your dog’s coat clean and free of matts. This will limit the amount of bacteria that could make its way into a small break in your dog’s skin and help prevent moisture from being trapped under his or her coat against the skin. If you notice a hot spot, clean the area with a dog-safe antiseptic, apply antibiotic ointment, and don’t let your dog lick or scratch at the area. Hot spots can expand rapidly so keep a close eye on the spot and schedule a vet visit if needed.
Cause: Canine Oral Papillomavirus
Treatment: In most dogs, they get one or a few small warts that will go away on their own with no further treatment. Because the time from first exposure to canine oral papillomavirus to the appearance of the first wart can be several months, and the warts themselves are usually of no medical concern, we do not restrict daycare attendance for those with warts. Reinfection is rare.
Although they can be ugly, puppy warts, or papillomas, rarely cause any issues and treatment is not usually needed. There is the slight risk of a large case of warts interfering with the ability to chew, or impeding the airway – in which case you should visit your vet immediately.
We hope that everyone has a fabulous first day back to school! If you think it’s time for your pup to come back to school too, give us a call at (610) 965-3647 today. If your dog has never visited before, let’s schedule an introduction!