Canterbury Kennel Cough Outbreak

Dog owners are being asked to take care around dog parks and public areas as an outbreak of Canine Cough spreads across Canterbury.

Kennel Cough or canine infectious tracheobronchitis is a highly contagious respiratory disease that’s common in New Zealand. While it’s not usually a serious threat to healthy dogs, it can cause problems for older canines. The disease is most often spread in areas where dogs socialise, such as dog parks, boarding kennels and beaches.

Local vets have noticed an increase in cases over the holiday period, including dogs that have been vaccinated. While vaccination covers the most common strains of Kennel Cough and can help minimise the impact of others, it does not guarantee complete protection.

Mike Kwant from the Waimakariri District Council’s Greenspace Team says local dog parks will remain open, however warning signage will be installed to alert pet owners to the risk.

“We ask people to take a few simple precautions such as isolating unwell pets at home, practicing social distancing between dogs and not using the shared water bowls.”

He says dog owners should consider finding alternatives to dog parks and popular outdoor areas until the outbreak eases.

“Probably the safest option at the moment is to walk your dog on a leash around your local neighbourhood.”

Kennel Cough symptoms include a dog hacking away or constantly making noises that make it sound like they are choking. Some dogs may also sneeze, have a runny nose or eye discharges.

Dog owners should contact their veterinarian for further health advice or if they suspect their dog is unwell.

View more information about Kennel Cough on the New Zealand Veterinary Association Facebook page.