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What Pet Care Providers Should Know About Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC)

What Pet Care Providers Should Know About Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex

For pet care providers, ensuring the health and well-being of the animals in their care is a top priority. Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC), inappropriately called kennel cough, is a highly contagious respiratory infection that can affect dogs, particularly those housed in close quarters with others. Understanding the signs and symptoms and taking preventive measures is crucial for maintaining a safe and healthy environment for your canine customers.

What are the symptoms of CIRDC? 

Similar to humans suffering from a cold or flu, dogs with CIRDC may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • The most common and noticeable symptom of CIRDC is a harsh cough, which is often described as having a “honking” sound.
  • Sneezing and nasal discharge. Dogs may exhibit sneezing and have eye and/or nasal discharge.
  • Afflicted dogs may appear tired and less active than usual.
  • Loss of appetite. Dogs with CIRDC may lose their appetite or have difficulty eating due to throat irritation.
  • Fever: Some dogs may develop a low-grade fever.

It’s important to note that these symptoms may also be found in dogs experiencing seasonal allergies, as well as more serious conditions such as canine influenza or the canine distemper virus. However, in cases of CIRDC, dogs typically improve within 7-10 days with basic nursing care.

Preventing the spread of CIRDC 

One of the most challenging aspects of preventing the spread of CIRDC is that infected dogs are sometimes at their most contagious before they exhibit symptoms. However, as a pet care services professional, there are several steps you can take to help reduce the risk of outbreaks at your facility:

  • Confirm vaccinations. A vaccine is available to protect against the Bordetella bacterium, which is the most common pathogen to cause CIRDC. Therefore, be sure to verify that all dogs coming to your facility are up to date on their Bordetella vaccines. However, while vaccination is the most powerful preventative measure, it’s not an absolute guarantee against infection as there are other pathogens that can cause the condition.
  • Frequent deep cleaning. On a daily basis, sanitize and disinfect any dog bowls, toys, play areas, and other items that dogs may come into contact with.
  • Proper ventilation. Ensure that your facility is well-ventilated to minimize the concentration of airborne pathogens and reduce the risk of transmission in enclosed spaces. Using a commercial-strength UV system is also recommended to kill the majority of germs found floating in the air.
  • Quarantine and isolation. Implement a quarantine protocol for any dogs showing symptoms or for those recently exposed to infected animals.

At IBPSA, we are committed to equipping our Members with the education and resources they need to provide safe, healthy, and sanitary environments for the pets in their care, thereby creating a great experience for pets and owners alike. To explore some of our resources, visit!