April 25, 2017
Categories: Shelter Medicine

Add to the list of reasons to give to your family and friends on why they shouldn’t buy a pet store puppy: They can be particularly likely to develop severe or even fatal pneumonia if they contract kennel cough.

Kennel cough is not a specific disease, but rather a complex of respiratory diseases affecting dogs, and more correctly known as Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease (CIRD). It can include illness caused by both viruses and bacteria, and symptoms can range from a mild cough to death.

Dr. Cynda Crawford of the Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida is the researcher who originally identified an influenza virus in dogs, now a significant cause of respiratory disease in dogs both in the community and in shelters. She is now frequently consulted about respiratory disease outbreaks in animals. In a 2013 presentation, Dr. Crawford cautioned that CIRD can be particularly dangerous in puppies from pet stores and puppy mills.

“(CIRD) is deadly in puppies. Deadly,” she said. “It is a very common cause of severe, life-threatening pneumonia in puppies, because the bacteria are replicating and damaging the lungs in addition to the upper respiratory tract. This is a common cause of severe pneumonia of puppies in pet stores coming from the Missouri and Oklahoma puppy mills. I frequently get called about Bordetella pneumonia with puppies purchased from pet stores.”

Out of concern for the suffering endured by puppy mill dogs as well as the physical and behavioral health problems experienced by the puppies themselves, Maddie’s Fund® has partnered with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) on a Puppy Mill Campaign to raise awareness of inhumane conditions in puppy mills and encourage consumer change. In developing the campaign, HSUS learned that most consumers weren’t aware that puppies in pet stores came from puppy mills.

The campaign’s focus is on reaching consumers when they are considering getting a new dog, including through its Don’t Buy Into Puppy Mills website.