Guidelines share how to minimize disease in canine group settings

If your canine patients often come in with diseases that may have been picked up at the dog park, consider directing clients to a new set of guidelines focused on minimizing the spread of diseases in canine group settings.

Veterinary experts from Ohio State University have compiled a user-friendly guide, and paper, to help minimize the possibility of spreading disease in canine group settings.

The guidelines were published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association on Sept. 15.

The researchers reviewed more than 400 academic papers related to the topic and examined published reports of outbreaks of disease in dogs before developing their advice. The guidelines are meant to be an outline of the best possible approach to infection control, noted Jason W. Stull, VMD, PhD, one of the guideline authors.

Some of the recommendations include:

  • Dogs with signs of infection should be kept out of group settings.
  • People who touch dogs in group settings should frequently clean their hands.
  • Community surfaces/items should be regularly disinfected, and sharing of balls, toys, etc., avoided.
  • Dogs should have up-to-date vaccinations, especially against highly contagious diseases.
  • Dogs should be kept out of areas that may have ticks, fleas, etc., and rodents and wildlife should be kept of out of areas where dogs will be.
  • Dogs should be kept clean, and cleaned up after.
  • Organizers of group events should avoid overcrowding of dogs.
  • Care should be taken with puppies and other dogs with weaker immune systems.

Dog owners can also assess the risks of a group setting by using Ohio State University’s online risk calculator.

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