Your Doylestown Township Parks and Recreation Department and the Doylestown Dog Park Advisory Commission worked quickly last Wednesday when we received word of cases of kennel cough among dogs belonging to our park. We consulted with local veterinarians with close ties to our park and learned that there was a general increase in kennel cough throughout our area.
One vet’s office, DAMC, donated a medical-grade disinfectant that kills kennel cough, and I joined members of the dog park advisory commission to roll up our collective sleeves and scrub down water fountains, bowls, durable toys, some of the fencing, and other parts of the park following proper medical protocol. The vets recommended that, in addition to the scrub-down, we keep the park closed for the balance of the incubation period from the first suspected case of the disease, which is two weeks. That’s why we’ll stay closed until October 14, 2015.
Karen A. Sweeney, CPRP, CPSI, CPP
Director of Parks & Recreation
General Information Regarding Kennel Cough
What is kennel cough?
Kennel cough, or bordetella bronchiseptica, actually refers to several bacteria and viruses closely related to human whooping cough. It is transmitted dog to dog — through the air or by close contact in normal playing among dogs. It’s often self-limiting; dogs may be infected and recover by themselves. Other times antibiotics are required. Check with your vet if you have concerns about your own dog.
The Dog Park requires vaccination against bordetella, but, as with vaccinations such as human flu shots, there’s no guarantee that the specific variety of bordetella circulating every year will be covered.
What can we do to prevent kennel cough in the future?
Not much beyond usual attention of a “parent” to a “child.” If your dog seems listless or is coughing with a runny nose, please skip the dog park until he’s feeling better. If you see a dog who “seems” sick in the park, steer your dog away and talk with that dog’s owner.
A concerned member suggested we remove the water bowls in the park and just have dogs drink directly from the fountains. We checked with vets, and kennel cough transmits directly from dog to dog. Water bowls are not major transmitters. So we’ll keep the water bowls in use but we ask, as always, for member vigilance. If you’re at the park and you haven’t seen the water bowl refilled, dump it, swish it out with your hand and refill it.
Please let us know if you have concerns or if your dog gets sick.
Kennel cough transfers where dogs gather: daycare, overnight stays at kennels, groomers, and, yes, dog parks. And there seems to be an uptick in local cases of it now. We’ve disinfected our park as best we can. We hope that our quick, decisive action, and our renewed vigilance and common sense after this short-term disruption in our schedule, will help us avoid repeated closing and reopening of the park until this strain of kennel cough runs its course.
Thanks for supporting your dog park for the benefit of all our dogs.