Health Info

Some things to consider when housing your pet away from home; By T.D. McDowell , PhD.

Communicable diseases are, quite simply, a fact of life, both for us and our companions.  As with our children going off to school or summer camp, when we introduce our animal friends to new environments, particularly those that will place them in close proximity to others of their own kind, we potentially expose them to “new” infectious agents.  While there is little that can be done to prevent these events there are things that we can do to lessen the severity of the exposures.


“Cleanliness is next to Godliness” is a very old saying that can have bearing on transmission of infectious disorders.  Did you know that all infectious processes can be expressed mathematically?  The number of any agent needed to cause an infection is called the “infectious dose.” Some agents can cause infections when relatively few of them get to the right place in a healthy host; these are known as “highly virulent” strains.  Other bacteria, viruses and fungi require a large exposure rate or a “predisposed” host in order to cause clinical problems.  Housing or pets in a relatively clean area, away from obviously sick individuals, only makes good sense.  “Relatively clean” is the important consideration here.  Fungal spores are very small, bacteria are much smaller and viruses are smaller yet.  Even the sterile conditions of an operating theater cannot completely prevent the transmission of “things” so small that they readily pass through filters or can travel large distances on the air currents of normal breathing. Minimizing the amount of “material” that can contain contagions, maintaining a high rate of air exchange and providing maximum exposure to sun light (UV light is hard on these tiny villains) will go a long way to keep your pets free of clinical infections.


There is a huge body of experimental data that clearly demonstrates the adverse effects of stress on health in general and specifically on infectious processes.  Continual barking, lack of personal contact, isolation and disruption of “normality” in general, can weaken your pets internal immune status, thusly making them more susceptible to infectious attack; even attack from agents that they normally carry in or on their own body.  A relaxing, peaceful setting will do wonders for the happiness of your friends and consequently contribute to their overall health.


Many of the most harmful, even deadly, diseases can be prevented or at least their effects minimized, by proper vaccination.  “Proper” vaccination is critical; immunity to infections is not equal.  Also, new diseases continually arise either through evolutionary trends or movement across the landscape.  Likewise, some diseases simply go away with time; for example Smallpox in man or Corona virus in dogs.  We strongly recommend that you visit with your veterinarian to assure that your pets are current and protected from all agents known to be active in your area.  Regardless, there is a “time lag” from inoculation to maximum immunity for all vaccines; a fair time frame for this initial response is 10 to 14 days.  This time period is of critical importance; vaccinating your friend for the first time the day before or when dropping them off for boarding, simply, will not provide them maximum protection.  Booster shots, on the other hand, take effect immediately and when in doubt boost, unless your veterinarian has advised otherwise.

Kennel cough

This, usually self limiting, respiratory disease is much like the common cold in man.  It is caused by a variety of 13 viruses / bacteria and, in its most severe form, the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptia (a possible agent of whooping cough like disease in man).  The vast majority of infectious Kennel Cough is caused by Adenovirus Type 2 and the para-Influenza viruses.  Routinely, dogs are inoculated for Distemper and Parvo with combination vaccines (5-way or 7-way products) which include an Adeno Type 2 and a para-Influenza component.  Separate Kennel Cough vaccines provide additional protection against Bordetella infections and may, in the nasal form, show an increased protection for the two main viral etiologies.  Since dogs are routinely vaccinated with the “combo” vaccines (often designated DHL-P or DA2PP on your records) which provide protection against the viral forms and we see, essentially, no cases of the  infectious abnormality in our guests; we do not find it prudent to subject our customers to the increased cost of this vaccination.  However we do recommend the vaccination for routine boarders as part of their preventive protocol.  Non-infectious Kennel Cough is caused by excessive barking; we have only very rarely had this condition reported.

To contact us:

Phone: (505) 897-0719



Updated: January 2, 2016