Concerned about Canine Respiratory Illness? 6 Strategies to Mitigate its Transmission.

News sources throughout the United States are covering a rise in a “mysterious” canine respiratory illness show a resemblance to “kennel cough,” a term that includes diverse viral and bacterial infections causing a distinctive honking cough in dogs. The respiratory has now been reported in Canada.

While the specific causative agent remains unidentified by veterinary and health authorities, it is imperative to emphasize infection control as the key strategy in addressing this situation. As we stay vigilant and gather more information, we advise following established best practices for infection prevention within pet services settings.

In the event of a suspected or confirmed outbreak, consulting with a veterinarian for guidance on best practices is strongly recommended. Here are some essential practices that pet boarding, daycare and grooming facilities can adopt:


Ensure that your pets are current on advised vaccinations


Conducting thorough screenings of pets upon their arrival at your facility plays a crucial role in preventing the introduction of pathogens. This process allows you to monitor any alterations in health or vaccination status, identify current or recent symptoms of illness, and assess travel history that might suggest a heightened infection risk. Pets with confirmed exposure to diseases may need to be excluded for a recommended period, typically two weeks, based on veterinary advice.

This downloadable checklist gives you a list of simple questions to ask owners before and after every visit. 


As a standard safety measure, minimize unnecessary interactions among pets and between pets and humans. Establishing a designated isolation space within facilities is essential for separating animals displaying signs of a suspected or confirmed infectious disease.


Whenever feasible, assign equipment to individual animals. Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and equipment that come into contact with multiple pets, using Prevail.

In the event of a suspected outbreak, such as when a pet displays respiratory infection symptoms, it is advised to disinfect using a solution of 1:40 (25 mL Concentrate/Litre of Water) of Prevail Concentrate, or RTU/Wipes.

For comprehensive guidance on disinfection protocol best practices, consult the provided resource and the IBPSA Infectious Disease Standards. These standards offer valuable insights to individuals working with animals, helping them minimize the introduction and dissemination of infectious diseases.


In addition, measures to improve air quality, as outlined here, may also reduce the risk of respiratory infections.

Work Clothing

To prevent the transmission of pathogens, wear dedicated clothing when in contact with pets, and laundered after use.

Hand Hygiene

Reduce the risk of infection in your facility by encouraging staff and visitors to consistently wash their hands with water and soap, or use hand sanitizer if hands aren’t visibly soiled, before and after interacting with dogs. Ensure convenient access to hand hygiene stations across your premises to promote effective hand cleanliness.


Stull JW, Kasten JI, Evason MD et al. (2016). Risk reduction and management strategies to prevent transmission of infectious disease among dogs at dog shows, sporting events, and other canine group settings. JAVMA. 249(6): 612 – 627.

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