As you know, we work especially hard to make sure your dog is feeling safe and secure enough to play the day away at our spacious facility. This requires not only adequate space but also the presence of trusted humans whom your domesticated dog can look to for protection if needed.
Our concern for your loved one extends to their physical health as well. We will often mention any observations we have made regarding changes in behavior, weight, or other issues that may arise that a busy owner may not have noticed.
For example, we have occasionally observed cases of tapeworms and notified the dog’s owner as well as taken fecal samples to our attending veterinarian for boarded dogs to check for parasites. Not the most fun part of our job, but an experienced professional eye has some benefits. As tapeworms require an intermediate host (they cannot be passed directly from dog to dog) and are not immediately life-threatening, we try not to alarm our clients and explain that one de-worming pill is enough to rectify the situation. This is just one of a number of benefits gained by the professional attention we provide that you may not be aware of. We highly recommend taking advantage of the fecal test offered by your veterinarian for each annual wellness exam. Yes, it is a bit icky to bring in a stool sample but canine parasites are more common than you might think, even beyond the puppy stage.
We would also like to let you know that as the weather gets warmer, in addition to parasites, cases of infectious bronchitis or “kennel cough” due to Bordetella become more prevalent. This awful-sounding cough is also not life-threatening but is certainly not pleasant for your dog. Depending on a variety of factors, your dog can become infected with varying degrees of severity – whether your dog has been vaccinated, how long ago and with which vaccine. And of course, exposure is a key factor – how much time your dog has spent in social situations and the size and ventilation of the environment. As it cannot live for long outside of its host, the illness can only be contracted by inhaling the breath vapor of another infected dog. And the cough does not develop right away, so a dog does not have to be coughing to be carrying the bug. While the microbe can be passed at pet supply stores, groomers or even during greetings on a leash walk, playtime clearly offers the perfect environment for this opportunistic bacteria to travel!
Last year there was a Bordetella outbreak across St Louis County that made the news. It affected most facilities in the area, starting in West County and moving east. We were not immune, and a handful of our client dogs contracted it. Some were vaccinated as per our requirements and some had passed their expiration dates. As a fully-licensed facility, we are required by the Missouri Department of Agriculture to maintain Rabies and Distemper vaccination documentation for all dogs inside the facility each day, and we undergo surprise inspections to confirm. But our decision to require the Bordetella vaccine is based not on any governmental rules or regulations but on our professional opinion that it is necessary. Similarly, we do NOT require the Canine Influenza vaccine, given the rarity of the virus. But for those of you who prefer to be as safe as possible, if your dog is going to be socializing with other dogs, he or she should have all of the above safeguards.
So, indeed, springtime can bring a few gray clouds in addition to the sunshine. But in our view, making sure your dog’s health is properly protected is a small price to pay for the many benefits of playing with their buddies.
For more health info, check out this excellent online resource.
See you soon! Love to doggies!
Bauser, Otto, and the rest of the BauserHaus team