Franklin County Animal Hospital recently took to social media to warn local pet owners of an outbreak of contagious infectious respiratory disease (CIRD) .

Dr. Eric Krauss said there is no reason to panic, as cases seem to be declining of late but out of an abundance of caution Franklin County Animal Municipal Pound closed its doors for adoptions June 26.

“For the past 6-8 weeks there has been a contagious cough has affected Franklin County dogs. It has also affected our shelter within the last few days … Our concern is to not continue the spread of this cough. We have decided to not to adopt or allow visitation with our dogs if you currently have a dog in the home for the next 14 days. The health of all the county’s dogs are our first concern.”

The shelter reopened for adoptions July 2, posting on Facebook that “everyone has stopped coughing.”

CIRD is much like the common cold in human patients. Krauss said he has been treating the illness with an antibiotic and a cough medication.

“We have sent test panels off and received negative results for Bordetella and the canine flu,” Krauss said.

He added the cough sounds worse than it is.

“It is more a throat irritation cough than from the lungs,” Krauss said adding while CIRD is by nature contagious, not all exposed dogs have gotten the cough. “We’ve seen dogs from boarding facilities and pet stores but also seen dogs who have not been around other dogs.”

He added his personal dogs, who accompany him to the Rocky Mount-based veterinary practice, have been exposed but have not contracted the cough.

While there hasn’t been any underlying cause found, Krauss said his personal theory is that the cough could stem from the wet spring and summer Franklin County and surrounding areas have experienced this year.

“I wonder if it is mold or environment related,” Krauss said. “We had a very similar outbreak last year in the spring and we ran tests for 20 organisms that tested negative as well.

He added he has no hard science to back up that theory but said the CIRD seems to be seasonal.

“I am not concerned for our dog population, it seems to be a seasonal outbreak, just unusually prevalent,” he said.

Krauss said if pet owners are concerned about their dog’s cough or if they notice other symptoms such as fever, lethargy or loss of appetite they should contact their veterinarian.

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