In recent times, we've noticed a rise in respiratory diseases affecting our cherished pets within the community. At Dominion Valley Animal Hospital, we believe in proactive pet care and aim to keep you informed about the prevalent Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC), commonly known as Kennel Cough. This highly contagious illness can impact dogs of all breeds and ages, particularly those exposed to communal settings like kennels, shelters, and daycare facilities.

Understanding Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC)

CIRDC, or Kennel Cough, is a respiratory tract illness caused by various bacteria and viruses. It is important to note that all dogs are susceptible, regardless of breed or age. While the name "kennel cough" suggests a higher risk in certain environments, the reality is that any gathering of dogs can pose a potential threat.

Recognizing Signs of CIRDC

The classic sign of CIRDC is a sudden, honking cough that may be accompanied by gagging or retching, occasionally leading to frothy vomit. Notably, some dogs with CIRDC may not exhibit a cough at all. Additional common signs include sneezing and a runny nose or eyes.

While most cases are mild, severe instances may manifest with lethargy, decreased appetite, fever, productive cough, and rapid or labored breathing, signaling potential bacterial pneumonia. Dogs infected with the canine distemper virus or those with pre-existing health conditions are at a higher risk of severe outcomes.

Transmission of CIRDC

CIRDC spreads through respiratory droplets and direct contact with infected dogs or contaminated surfaces. Areas where dogs congregate, such as kennels and daycare facilities, pose an elevated risk.

Can Cats Become Infected?

Yes, certain CIRDC-associated bacteria and viruses, including Bordetella bronchiseptica, Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus, and canine influenza virus, can infect and cause illness in cats.

Do Infected Dogs Need to Avoid People?

Generally, infected dogs do not need to avoid people. Bordetella bronchiseptica is the only CIRDC-associated organism known to infect people, and cases of dog-to-human transmission are extremely rare, typically occurring in severely immunocompromised individuals.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

If you suspect your dog has CIRDC, prompt veterinary attention is crucial. Diagnosis involves a thorough examination, and treatment varies based on the severity of the condition. It may include supportive care, antibiotics for bacterial infections, and medications to alleviate symptoms.

Protecting Your Dog Against CIRDC

  • Vaccination: To safeguard your pets, it's crucial to keep their vaccinations updated for Bordetella, Adenovirus 2, parainfluenza, and canine influenza, even if not due at this time, to provide maximum immunity to deal with this respiratory outbreak.
  • Hygiene Practices: Maintain good hygiene by regularly cleaning your dog's living space and avoiding shared items in communal areas.
  • Isolation when Sick: If your dog exhibits signs of illness, isolate them from other dogs to prevent the spread of the disease.
  • Consult with Our Team: Seek veterinary advice on personalized preventive measures based on your dog's lifestyle and potential risk factors.

At Dominion Valley Animal Hospital, we are committed to the well-being of your pets. If you have concerns about respiratory diseases or would like to schedule a wellness check, contact us today. Together, let's ensure a healthy and vibrant life for your furry companions!

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3 Convenient Locations

Serving Haymarket & Leesburg


Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Tuesday: 10:00am - 7:00pm
*Saturdays: 9:00am - 2:00pm
*We are currently closed on Saturday. However, we do have availability at our Leesburg Location – Schedule An Appointment
We are closed Monday - Friday from 12pm - 1pm for lunch.


Monday – Friday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Saturdays: 9:00am - 2:00pm
We are closed Monday - Friday from 12pm - 1pm for lunch.