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Ill dogs at humane society responding favorably to antibiotics

May 04, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

Dogs suffering from an upper respiratory illness at the Humane Society of Washington County seem to be responding favorably to antibiotics, the humane society's executive director said Friday.

Paul Miller said he won't know for certain whether the dogs are out of the woods, however, until a veterinarian checks them out next week.

The illness prompted humane society officials to stop adopting dogs late last month, Miller said. Hopefully, the kennel will reopen in less than a week so dog adoptions can resume, he said. Cats remain adoptable.

"Somewhere in late April, we started seeing dogs with upper respiratory issues without the kennel cough," Miller said. "It spread fairly quickly throughout the kennel."

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Only 15 of the dogs originally showed symptoms that included congestion, nasal discharge, fever, lethargy and loss of appetite, Miller said. Now, roughly one-third of the humane society's unofficial count of 65 to 70 dogs are taking antibiotics.

"Someone brought in a dog that had it," Miller said. "We had to deal with the consequences."

Miller said the illness is not the dog flu.

To be on the safe side, Miller said dog owners should take their pets to a veterinarian if the aforementioned symptoms appear.

Dr. Phillip Turfle, a veterinarian with Mid-Atlantic Veterinary Hospital in Hagerstown, said dogs typically are treated in the spring for allergies and parasites such as fleas and ticks - not infections of the upper respiratory system.

"Things like (upper respiratory illness) are passed from one dog to another," Turfle said.

Dogs with upper respiratory infections generally are treated with antibiotics for 10 to 14 days, Turfle said.

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