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'Unusual outbreaks' of kennel cough spark warning from BC SPCA

The outbreak isn't being caused by any of the usual suspects.
The BC SPCA is warning about kennel cough.

An unusual strain of kennel cough has entered the province, according to the BC SPCA.

Kennel cough is an infectious respiratory disease caused by bacteria and viruses; the new strain arrived last month it appears, according to a press release from the BC SPCA. It was first spotted in Kamloops.

"Any dogs in our care who were showing symptoms were immediately isolated, but as we began testing for known viruses and bacteria, the tests kept coming back negative. After consulting with specialists, we believe the cause could be a virus that isn’t detected by commercially available tests,” says Dr. Emilia Gordon, the BC SPCA's senior manager of animal health.

The organization is working with specialists and laboratories to figure out the cause.

So far 24 cases have been identified at BC SPCA facilities with additional cases reported in communities.

The BC SPCA is warning the public about the outbreak, urging anyone who notices their dog coughing to isolate them and call a veterinarian. Other symptoms include eye or nose discharge.

“None of the dogs have become seriously ill and all are recovering, but the concerning aspect of these cases is how aggressively the disease has spread between dogs, even if they weren’t in close contact,” says Gordon.

Some dogs who've been affected were vaccinated against common viruses, but it appears whatever is causing the current outbreak isn't affected by the vaccine.