If your dogs are sniffling, coughing or sneezing, they aren’t the only ones.
Local veterinarian Dr. Cade Wilson said that while it’s far from widespread, he’s seen an above average number of pets showing unseasonable seasonal allergy symptoms.
“That’s a little strange,” Wilson said. “Weird weather, more than anything. We’ve seen some, and it’s a weird time of year for this.”
He said while he’s treated a few cats, the allergies seem to be mostly effecting dogs.
There may also be other causes. For example, animals with asthma may show symptoms when families turn on long-dormant heaters for the first time in winter.
“The longer it goes on, the more secondary problems start to arise, secondary infections,” Wilson said.
Symptoms include sneezing, low appetites in dogs, swollen neck lymph nodes that are difficult to notice, and coughing, which may or may not be productive.
“A productive cough, that’s one way we differentiate it,” Wilson said. “It tells me we’ve got drainage.”
There’s another more timely factor that may be contributing to the odd trend. During the holidays, more dogs are placed in boarding facilities, where they’re around strange dogs for days at a time. Symptoms of a virus or infection can take as long as a week to show up.
“Even if you do everything you’re supposed to do, your dog is going to be exposed to things they usually aren’t,” Wilson said.
Wilson said owners sometimes mistake those symptoms for kennel cough, a highly contagious respiratory infection, but he said he’s only seen a few cases.
“Maybe one in 100 turn out to be kennel cough,” Wilson said. “The majority are just viral episodes.”