FORT MYERS, Fla.- A popular Southwest Florida pet hotel says it will close for cleaning after a number of dogs got sick. In an e-mail, management of The Dog Resort on Metro Parkway in Fort Myers said they would close for daycare, boarding, and grooming from November 7th-November 20th.
The Dog Resort told owners their pets could start showing symptoms over the next few weeks, calling it part of "an ongoing nationwide epidemic being spread among the dog community."
However, other animal experts say it could be something much more common. Veterinarians describe it as the Fido form of the common cold. It's called "Kennel Cough," and it can spread quickly.
"Dogs that play a lot together, even in a grooming situation, where they're intimate and playing with each other; it spreads very rapidly," Dr. Wayne Mogavero said.
The latest scare to hit the canine world is called "circovirus." Little is known about where it comes from and how it spreads, but Dr. Mogavero said it's unlikely that's what's causing dogs at the Dog Resort to become sick.
"It's not even close to these symptoms, and it's not an epidemic. It was just a mention," he said.
Dr. Mogavero says the symptoms cited by the Dog Resort in its e-mail are that of Kennel Cough.
"It's a viral infection and the dog honks and coughs and it sounds like it's gagging or something is stuck in its throat. It gets runny eyes, a runny nose and all that, and it can escalate to bronchitis and even pneumonia, and at that time, if it's not treated then you're talking about the possibility of death," he said.
Other veterinarians speculate the animals are likely experiencing Kennel Cough or Canine Influenza. Both are prevented with vaccines, and treated with antibiotics.
The Dog Resort says it requires an annual Bordetella Vaccine, which is the vaccine associated with Kennel Cough, but management does not require a Canine Influenza shot.
Veterinarians suggest dogs who go to daycare or a pet hotel receive the Bordetella vaccine every six months. Dr. Mogavero says kennels can cause stress, which can compromise an animal's immune system.
The Dog Resort notes its retail store will remain open during the cleaning period. Daycare, boarding, and grooming will reopen on November 21st.