The North Peace BC SPCA says it's doing its part in dealing with a new strain of kennel cough circulating in the province.
Branch Manager Candace Buchamer says the shelter is currently not offering canine adoptions and have had to quarantine their kennels over the past two years in order to stop the spread.
"We've had some pretty long-standing cases of it, unfortunately. It is definitely something that we're suspecting," said Buchamer, noting testing for kennel cough typically turns up negative.
Buchamer added that there's no true numbers available for cases within the region, as cases are difficult to determine without immediate specialized testing. Two dogs rescued from Fort Nelson are suspected to have the illness.
"The problem is we don't have an actual number because some of the initial cases that we now believe were those, we didn't end up getting proper testing. At that time we didn't know what was going on. It's a weird situation where you send a test and it comes back negative, but the dog is still symptomatic," Buchamer.
Dogs were then quarantined and put on supportive medication at that time, she added, noting dry ice and other materials not easy to store are needed to test. The dry ice is used to capture saliva samples from the animals before being sent off to a lab.
The classic symptom of kennel cough is a persistent forceful cough. Some dogs may show other symptoms, including sneezing, a runny nose, or eye discharge.
As of Aug. 5, the BC SPCA says it's detected 24 cases within its facilities. The majority are based in the Kamloops region, according to a press release by the organization.
Detection of the new strain is impossible to determine at a glance, says Dr. Emilia Gordon in the release, BC SPCA's senior manager of animal health.
“Because the causative agent is unknown we want to make sure that people are vigilant in isolating their dogs immediately if they start coughing,” said Gordon.
Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alaska Highway News