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Canine community in Windsor on alert as dog Illness spreads stateside

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A mystery respiratory illness is affecting dogs in at least 14 states — and while it hasn’t been confirmed in Canada, it’s perked the ears of local dog lovers.

Nicole McMillan has been a dog groomer in Windsor for over 30 years.

She said the dog community isn’t at the point of panic, but there is concern.

“We don’t want our dogs sick, much like we don’t want our family members sick,” she said.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, it has yet to be determined if the illness is viral or bacterial, or whether it may be a variant of kennel cough.

Symptoms include coughing, fever, lack of energy and lack of appetite.

In some cases, the illness has led to pneumonia and even death.

It also appears to be contagious.

So far cases have been confirmed in:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington

The Windsor-Essex County Humane Society said the illness is on their radar.

“Fortunately this is not something we’re seeing yet in this area, but it’s something we’re aware of and definitely watching for,” Executive Director Melanie Coulter told CTV News.

McMillan, who co-owns Loyal Companions Dog Grooming, said it hasn’t got to the point where her clients are expressing concern, but she’s already taking precautions.

“You clean a little bit more, your products, to combat bacteria that we know of,” she said.

“We work one-on-one with animals, which is a good thing so we can be sterile and clean an environment for them individually.”

She said it’s important to follow veterinary advice – but that this is not an entirely new scenario.

“We have seen some sort of illness in the dog community year after year,” McMillan said. “We’re not healthy, how do we expect them to be healthy?”

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