Contagious Daycare Conditions

The following are the most common contagious conditions that occur in dog daycare when a dog is first beginning to attend regularly. We like to compare these conditions to the chicken poxes and colds of our childhoods. Please note that what we say here is only our opinion and that you should always seek veterinary attention when you are unsure about something.

Giardia
Commonly affects young or undersocialized dogs. For undersocialized dogs, they usually just need a little help and time to build their underused immune system up. For young dogs, typically under 2-3 years of age, the rate of growth combined with training/exercise/socialization by dedicated owners, plus spay/neuter surgeries, vaccination schedules, etc, makes them temporarily vulnerable to many conditions, including Giardia. Giardia is a protazoal parasite transmitted easily from dog to dog and especially in situations with standing water. Many adult, socialized, healthy dogs carry asymptomatic Giardia since experiencing the symptoms as a puppy and may occasionally still have flare-ups during times of stress or other burden to the immune system. Young dogs or other dogs who are first infected, may need help to overcome it. Symptoms are anorexia, vomiting, and loose stool. We feel that Panacur is the safest and most effective treatment for this condition and highly recommend talking to your vet about it. Do your research on Flagyl aka Metronidazole, another commonly prescribed treatment to decide if you are comfortable with it before using it! Good quality probiotics can also help enormously with any loose stool condition.

Kennel Cough
Commonly affects young or undersocialized dogs. For undersocialized dogs, they usually just need a little help and time to build their underused immune system up. For young dogs, typically under 2-3 years of age, the rate of growth combined with training/exercise/socialization by dedicated owners, plus spay/neuter surgeries, vaccination schedules, etc, makes them temporarily vulnerable to many conditions, including kennel cough. Symptoms include the trademark deep, chest cough and green or yellow eye and/or nasal discharge. If that is the extent of your dog’s symptoms, don’t be fooled! Your dog still needs to rest to prevent it from developing further, despite what her energy levels seem to tell you. Check with your vet to make sure it is not pneumonia or bronchitis. If you should see anorexia, lethargy, or vomiting, call your vet immediately. In most cases, dogs have normal energy and appetite, but they still must not return to daycare until symptoms have disappeared. Kennel cough has many causes, which is why Dr. Ronald Schultz, a highly regarded vaccination scientists has stated, “Kennel cough is not a vaccine preventable disease.”

Mange
Mange is caused by tiny mites that live on all dogs. They get passed to puppies from their mothers and as the puppy grows, the mites sometimes take advantage of their immature immune systems and overpopulate. It is actually not something that a dog catches at daycare, but it becomes evident when pups first begin attending because they are exercising and getting tired. When you notice bald spots appearing on your dog, usually on the head or front legs (but can be anywhere), take them to the vet immediately to test for which kind of mange it is. Demodectic mange aka puppy mange is noncontagious to humans, but sarcoptic mange aka scabies is easily transmittable to humans. Puppy mange is self-limiting. It requires that you feed your dog a healthy, carb-free diet, give them plenty of rest, and allow them time to get bigger and stronger. Keep an eye on the mange to make sure it is not taking over your dog’s system, but in general, allowing your dog to overcome it on their own will give them a stronger immune system. We like to treat puppy mange with careful monitoring plus extra virgin coconut oil to smother the mites, to moisturize the skin which can become itchy and dry and red, and for its anti-fungal properties to get rid of the yeast in a dog’s system that is feeding the mites.

Puppy Warts
Commonly affects young or immunosuppressed dogs. For immunosuppressed dogs, if this is a permanent condition, they should not attend daycare, as they are too vulnerable to be in such an environment. If it is due to steroid treatment, etc, you may need to exercise caution and speak to your vet about a different option for treatment. For young dogs, typically under 2-3 years of age, the rate of growth combined with training/exercise/socialization by dedicated owners, plus spay/neuter surgeries, vaccination schedules, etc, makes them temporarily vulnerable to many conditions, including warts. They display as cauliflower like projections on lips, interior cheeks, and under the tongue. They grow, and then fall off after several weeks and typically do not return after that. Check to see if they obstruct breathing or eating. Sometimes warts appear in other places like feet because dogs can pass warts around just like kids can.

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