Local pet professionals say owners shouldn't worry about boarding dogs amid mystery illness

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AUSTIN (KXAN) – We’re in the midst of the holiday season, which means many pups will be checked into kennels while their owners travel for the holidays. 

While it’s still unknown whether a mystery respiratory illness infecting dogs is circulating in Texas — it’s been detected in at least 14 states so far– one Travis County boarding facility encouraged pet lovers not to panic and gave some advice on how to keep their furry friends healthy.

“How well do you take care of yourself, and how well do you want to take care of your dog? Being a proactive pet parent will alleviate a lot of things that could come from being in a dog community,” said Kristine Krolczyk, owner of My Love Fur Paws.  

Krolczyk said they had nearly 100 dogs boarding with My Love Fur Paws over Thanksgiving, and none got sick with any virus. 

She said boosting your dog’s immune system is paramount before checking them into their temporary home. Some ways to do this are by feeding them supplements and nutritious foods, choosing a facility with air purifiers and plentiful ventilation and bringing the pup to a facility semi-regularly so it can get used to being around other dogs. 

Krolczyk said that if a dog doesn’t go to a shared dog facility often, “their immune is not built for it.”

“Prebiotics and probiotics are then super important. [Also] vitamin C, you can get that at Whole Foods, is very important,” Krolczyk added. 

Krolczyk said she thinks the hype surrounding the dog mystery illness is “blown out of proportion,” she said. 

What is more important, in her opinion, is for people to choose a high-quality facility to board their dogs over the holiday. 

“if you get a highly-trained staff to take care of people’s pets, then these are things we monitor daily, hourly. And so I don’t want the public to be in a panic about this,” she added. 

Dr. Heidi Moore, a veterinarian at Lakeway Veterinarian Clinic, agreed that the new respiratory illness shouldn’t be a big cause for concern going into the festive season. 

“Respiratory disease is not a new thing in veterinary medicine,” Moore said. “A lot of them we vaccinate for like distemper, parainfluenza, and Bordetella, and there are other ones that we don’t vaccinate for that potentially are not majorly pathogenic.” 

“I think just making sure your pet is healthy – making sure it has its regular visits to a veterinarian, at least a yearly visit, and get its core vaccines,” she continued. “There’s no reason to panic.”

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