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Everything we know about a potentially new uri strain

Updated: Dec 23, 2023

By Allison Jacobs, Scout's Honor Owner & President

We have been closely monitoring reports across North America of a potentially new canine upper respiratory illness (URI) outbreak. It is unknown if the same strain of potentially new URI is nationally prevalent or if there are different strains in different areas. The reasons for uncertainty are because dogs' polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are displaying negative results due to a potentially new strain OR the test was performed after the dog has begun to shed the virus.


Like other strains of URIs, if untreated promptly pneumonia and pneumonia-caused fatalities can be risks. Reports have shown that brachycephalic breeds and dogs with with existing ailments are at the highest risk of complications.

At Scout’s Honor, the health and safety of your pets are our top priorities. We annually attend conferences to learn about the latest developments in communicable canine illnesses and disease prevention. This year was no exception. My business partners, our managers and I attended three keynotes this fall about the latest health trends and technologies. Last night we tuned in to the virtual panel hosted by TruPanion “Separating Fact, Fiction and Uncertainty: Canine Resprioty Illness Q&A” with veterinarians Dr. Steve Weinrauch, Dr. Scott Weese, Dr. Michael Lappin, and Dr. Carrie Jurney.


At this time we have had zero reported cases of URIs amongst our clients. Our commitment to regularly continued education has us confident in our procedures, protocols, and technology used to minimize risk.



“Our outbreak is awareness,” - Dr. Scott Weese, Director of the University of Guelph Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses said.

SYMPTOMS TO WATCH FOR

  • Coughing

  • Sneezing

  • Nose and/or eye discharge

  • Labored Breathing

  • Lethargy

  • Decreased Appetite


WHAT SCOUT'S HONOR DOES EVERY DAY

Cleaning Procedures:

  • All enrichment equipment (ball-pit balls, toys, puzzles, etc) are sterilized after use

  • All employees sanitize their hands in between enrichment sessions via hand sanitizer stations installed throughout the facility.

  • Enrichment shifts and group play shifts have checklists to follow to maintain cleanliness in their yard during the day.

  • We have a minimum of one shift-pattern per day that is focused on cleaning. This shift pattern is doubled when we are over 80% boarding occupancy to ensure cleanliness (this shift pattern is why we have more peak boarding dates in 2024 than previous years)

  • Although our lobby opens at 7am and closes at 7pm, our shift patterns start at 6am and end at 8pm to facilitate daily deep cleaning.


Cleaning Technology:

  • We use specific cleaning solvents that are proven safe for animals.

  • We have the same UV light filtration in all four of our HVAC units as our new local animal shelter. We asked animal care and control for their opinion on UV light filtration during our buildout. We were told that over a 12 month span their UV light filtration cut down on URIs by 90%.

Vaccinations:

  • We ensure and require dogs are up-to-date on bordetella and parainfluenza vaccinations before every visit.

  • We previously suspended our requirement of the canine influenza vaccine due to a worldwide shortage. We will resume this requirement on 2/1/2024. We have verified that Arlington Heights Veterinary Hospital has this vaccination readily in stock for new and existing clients. Pet Co. on E. 3rd Street has also been able to maintain stock of canine influenza vaccine for new clients. Other local clinics like Bloomingpaws, College Mall Vet, Combs, and Fury Friends stock the vaccine for existing clients. To our knowledge Ellettsville Veterinary Clinic, Monroe County Humane Association, Pets Alive, and Town and Country are unable to regularly stock the canine influenza vaccine.


Quarantine:

  • We are required by local authorities to have a separate room for potentially sick animals.

  • We call owners immediately if their dog displays any potential symptom of a communicable disease. At this time we cannot be too cautious: dogs who may have collapsed tracheas, severe allergies, or any other medical condition that causes coughing will be quarantined immediately and early pick-up will be requested. Please do not bring coughing or symptomatic dogs for facility services because they will be sent home.

  • We are not permitted to house sick or potentially sick animals. Only local veterinarians are permitted to house potentially sick animals.


Research:

  • We meet regularly with facility owners across the world to discuss best practices in the industry.

  • We remain committed to continued education through reliable veterinary, media, and industry-specific sources (listed at the end of this article).

  • We remain open to new practices, policies, procedures, and technology that may arise during this time.


WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Do not take your dog to a boarding, daycare, grooming, training, dog park facilities that do not require bordetella and parainfluenza vaccinations. NOTE: Monroe County only requires these types of facilities to vaccinate against rabies. It is the responsibility of owners and managers to implement stricter vaccination policies. Learn more about our policies.

  • Keep your dog home if they are experiencing symptoms of a URI.

  • Keep your dog home if they have existing medical conditions that may worsen if exposed to a URI.

  • Take your dog to the vet immediately if they display symptoms of a URI. Do not do virtual appointments. Pneumonia can only be diagnosed by listening to lungs and from capturing chest x-rays.


Do you have any questions or want to talk more? Type "Hey Allison" in a e-mail, SMS (existing clients only), or website live chat to talk with me directly.


Sources:


Update 12/16:

We have had one client diagnosed with pneumonia and one client diagnosed with the new strain. One of these clients attends multiple facilities in Bloomington regularly. Please continue to be vigilant and do not bring your dog around other dogs if they are experiencing symptoms.

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