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Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides and its founding program, Canine Vision Canada, was established in 1983. It’s the largest school of its kind in Canada with its training school in Oakville and breeding facility in Breslau.


Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC)

Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC) is the current veterinary medical term for what was once referred to as “canine cough”, “kennel cough”, or “infectious tracheobronchitis”.

These historical terms recognized the role that environments with higher crowding or poor ventilation played in contracting CIRDC but falsely implied these were the sole origin. The newer CIRDC term expands this understanding to recognize both the infectious nature of the condition as well as the varied bacteria and viruses that have been implicated as causative agents, all of which can result in similar clinical signs consisting of a dry “honking” cough, sensitivity to cough when the dog’s neck/throat is touched, eye and/or nasal discharge, and, in extreme cases, pneumonia.

CIRDC in dogs is analogous to the common cold found in people.

Diagnosis is primarily based on history (exposure to a high-risk environment and/or sick dogs), clinical signs, and a general physical examine conducted by your veterinarian, and may be confirmed through additional laboratory testing or chest radiographs. Many laboratories now offer testing of nasal/throat swabs for the various common infectious causes of CIRDC, although they are not comprehensive for all potential infectious agents.

As CIRDC is highly contagious, affected dogs should be isolated from other dogs during treatment. Treatment generally focus on supportive care (e.g., cough suppressants, anti-inflammatories, hydration, etc.) and many dogs recover without the need for any further treatment. Some dogs with worsening clinical signs, a bacterial component, or whom develop pneumonia may require more involved care, including antibiotics and/or hospitalization.

Fortunately, CIRDC is preventable for the most part through vaccines that provide immunization against the more common causes of CIRDC. Available vaccines center on immunization against Bordetella bronchiseptica, a respiratory pathogen in the dog that both causes clinical CIRDC as well as weakening the dog’s respiratory defenses to allow additional infectious agents to complicate the clinical scenario. Additional infectious agents available for CIRDC immunization include parainfluenza and canine adenovirus depending on patient risk, including options for either parental (injection) or mucosal (oral or intranasal) administration with most veterinary infectious disease experts preferring vaccines administered mucosally due to their recognized higher efficacy.

Vaccination against CIRDC is commonly required for a reputable kennel to accept a dog for boarding, with many dog owners vaccinating their dogs annually in anticipation of the potential need to board their dog at some point during the year.

Veterinary vaccines also exist for canine influenza (H3N2 and H3N8) however these do not appear to be a common canine respiratory pathogen in Canada at this time.

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