The Humane Society of Hobart (HSH) is currently experiencing a wave of canine upper respiratory infections in the shelter’s dog population. While it is common to have a few dogs with upper respiratory infections (URIs) at any given time, occasionally URIs can spread through a shelter population quickly and cause more dogs to experience symptoms. Canine URIs cannot be spread to other species of animals or to humans.
Shelter environments and other places where large numbers of animals are housed or congregate can be ideal for illness to incubate and spread. URIs are usually viral and spread through respiratory droplets, thriving in humid environments and exacerbated by stress. The Humane Society of Hobart is currently experiencing the two most common factors that can lead to an increase in URI prevalence in shelters: more dogs than usual in the shelter’s care and prolonged length of stay.
HSH has robust daily cleaning protocols, and shelter staff are carefully monitoring all dogs for symptoms. In coordination with shelter veterinarians, staff are reviewing housing of dogs daily, adjusting as necessary to keep healthy dogs separated from those showing symptoms as much as possible and treating dogs showing more severe symptoms.