Industry updates / Kennel Cough update - extra monitoring recommended

Participants should be vigilant for signs of kennel cough in greyhounds in NSW, particularly kennels that have recently imported greyhounds from Victoria or been in contact with Victorian greyhounds during racing, as there have been an increase in cases in Victorian kennels in recent weeks. GRV has conducted PCR throat swab testing and confirmed infections are caused by Mycoplasma cynos, the same disease that caused a kennel cough outbreak in New Zealand greyhounds recently. If you have recently, or are considering importing greyhounds from Victoria or have been in contact with Victorian kennels, please quarantine newly introduced or traveled greyhounds by keeping them separate from other greyhounds, for at least 10 days, and observe for clinical signs.

Symptoms of this disease are relatively mild with no obvious clinical signs other than a dry, husky cough that generally lasts for 3-4 days. Younger greyhounds appear more susceptible than older dogs, which may have some immunity. The incubation period (period from exposure to development of cough) appears to be about 7-10 days, however signs may develop the day after a race or trial where the greyhound performed below expectations. Most dogs will recover without treatment, but you should seek advice from your veterinarian, particularly if signs of more severe infection or illness develop. There is currently no mycoplasma vaccination. Once coughing starts, infected greyhounds should be isolated from healthy dogs and have around 3 weeks off racing, dependent on degree of clinical signs. Healthy greyhounds can continue racing, but if they are kennelled with other greyhounds with kennel cough it is strongly advised to take a cautious approach and scratch those greyhounds too, as they may be incubating the disease and can transmit it.

While treatment is often not required, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics for more severe disease. Bleach (sodium hypochlorite) based kennel disinfectants will be more effective than quaternary ammonium compounds (e.g. benzalkonium chloride) and should be used in kennels and on equipment used by infected greyhounds.

Prevention includes isolation of affected greyhounds; scratching all affected greyhounds and minimising spread; prompt testing to identify the cause of disease; disinfection; maintain good ventilation / air flow, as recirculating air-conditioning may increase the rate of spread by droplets, as will direct contact  with affected water and feed bowls, muzzles, lures/toys, vehicles/trailers, bedding, etc. Keeping greyhound vaccinated to C5 level will protect them from circulating respiratory viruses and other diseases that may take advantage of lower immunity and spread during outbreaks. Current vaccination status is now a condition of the NSW Code of Practice (Standard 3.12).

GWIC urges participants that if they suspect their greyhound may have Kennel Cough, they must scratch them from any races they are nominated in; do not trial them or take them to other communal training facilities; and withdraw them from GAP intakes. Allowing Kennel Cough cases to spread will impact on all aspects of the industry. We thank you for your cooperation.

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