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Kennel cough recurs at Humane Society of Washington County

Organization offers voucher program to assist with cost of veterinarian visits

December 16, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER | kate.alexander@herald-mail.com

The Humane Society of Washington County is asking people to wait until after Dec. 29 to turn in dogs at its shelter, due to a recurrence of kennel cough.

Kennel cough, or bordetella, is the common name for canine tracheobronchitis, the humane society said in a news release Friday.

It is a highly contagious disease that affects dogs and is most commonly identified by a dry hacking cough that may resemble honking, the release said.

Katherine Cooker, a spokeswoman for the humane society, said in an email that it is the second time this year that the shelter has dealt with the disease. It also had a rash of kennel cough in October, the release said.

"Once again, we fear it is beginning to be seen because people are not vaccinating their dogs," Cooker said.

The humane society's Animal Health Voucher Program established in October to provide financial assistance to county residents for pet inoculations will cover a vaccination that includes bordetella.

The society established the voucher program to assist qualifying applicants with the cost of  veterinarian visits and inoculations in response to a local outbreak of parvovirus — an extremely contagious and potentially fatal canine disease.

Kennel cough has been identified in two rooms at the shelter, and the shelter is taking precautions to stop the spread of the disease, the release said.

Although dogs being surrendered by their owners are not being accepted until after Dec. 29, stray dogs will be accepted, the release said.

Those who suspect their dog might have kennel cough should contact a veterinarian immediately, the humane society advised. Veterinarians can treat and immunize dogs against the disease.

Symptoms of kennel cough include:

  • Dry hacking cough.
  • Cough that sounds like honking.
  • Retching.
  • Watery nasal discharge.

In a mild case, a dog would likely be active and eating normally. In a severe case, symptoms can progress to include pneumonia, fever, lethargy and even death.

Unvaccinated puppies, young dogs and immuno-compromised dogs might experience the most severe symptoms of the disease.

Voucher program

The Washington County Humane Society's Animal Health Voucher program is available to help those who qualify cover the cost of having their dogs vaccinated against kennel cough.

It is available to county residents who are receiving public assistance, including food stamps, medical assistance, cash assistance, social security or disability assistance.

Vouchers, good for up to $75, are to be used to cover the cost of an exam by a Washington County veterinarian and for the vaccination that includes the DHLPP — distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza and parvovirus — rabies and bordetella for dogs. The voucher also covers vaccinations for cats.

All expenses above $75 will be the owner's responsibility, according to the humane society.

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