Veterinarians warn of dog cough outbreak at Lake of the Ozarks

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LINN CREEK, Mo. (KY3) — The waiting room at the Lake of the Ozarks Animal Hospital has been a busy place this summer.

“This is the time of year where we tend to see more contagious cough than other times of year,” said Dr. Katie Rericha, veterinarian and owner of the Lake of the Ozarks Animal Hospital. “This year has been particularly bad.”

The animal hospital says is has treated a lot of dogs for a kennel cough-like illness.

“You’re talking about 50 to 70 active cases,” Rericha said.

The two illnesses are mycoplasma and parainfluenza. One is a bacterial, the other is a viral infection that makes dogs sick for about a month.

Rericha said she’s seen mycoplasma come up on tests before, but this is the first time she’s seen the two show up together.

“I think when they’re together, it creates more clinical signs,” Rericha said. “They’ll stay up all night on a couple nights. They’ll kind of hack up some mucus.”

Rericha said some dogs need medicine to help with the cough, but most dogs are able to let the illness run its course.

The cough is contagious even before symptoms start to show, and can be spread between dogs and cats, and from an owner or another human who man have been exposed to the bacteria or virus.

While there is no vaccine for the mycoplasma, there are vaccines for parainfluenza, and veterinarians recommend making sure your pup is up-to-date before going to a kennel, groomer, dog park, or to the pool or lake one last time before the end of summer.

“Getting that vaccine could probably shorten the affect on your dog if they are exposed,” Rericha said.

There is some good news as far as this outbreak is concerned. Veterinarians say they’ve started to see a decrease in dogs diagnosed with these two illnesses, so they expect the outbreak to be wrapped up in the next few months.

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