Canine respiratory virus sparks fear, hits Colorado Springs pet business

A faded, unkempt dog, before and after, courtesy of: Janet Huffor, owner of Stubby’s Dog Wash & Grooming Salon

(Colorado Springs) – Reports of a “mysterious” canine respiratory virus circulating in Colorado have caused widespread concern among dog owners. However, local pet care businesses, particularly grooming and boarding facilities, stress that while the virus is indeed present, recent warnings have significantly affected their operations.

After a spike in reported cases of canine respiratory virus in November, Colorado veterinarians warned the public, some even against dog grooming and boarding activities because of possible transmission through dog-to-dog contact. Advised.


However, local pet care organizations, which operate under the state’s strict hygiene standards, feel the recommendation is too broad. Many of these facilities, governed by the Pet Care and Facilities Act (PACFA), adhere to strict regulations that do not even allow dog-to-dog interaction, greatly reducing the risk of transmission. .

“It was a blanket statement of ‘go and don’t groom your dog,’ but I also think they don’t know what our sanitation procedures are… It’s time to groom the state of Colorado. facilities and here in the El Paso County area, that we saw an increase in the number of cancellations,” said Janet Hafur, owner of Stubby’s Dog Wash and Grooming Salon in Colorado Springs.

Since November, Stubby’s has been fielding at least ten calls a day from concerned customers seeking reassurance about safety measures. Hafur said he would consider canceling services altogether if it was unsafe to bring his dogs.

Now, during what is typically their busiest time of the year — the holiday season — many small businesses are on the verge of closing. Hafur revealed that Stubby’s saw their business drop by two-thirds, from where they used to see 30-40 dogs a day, to now seeing about ten dogs.

“This is a profession where most breeders are paid on commission, and so if they’re not raising dogs, they’re not making any money. So it’s for the entire pet industry. It’s been a very tough, tough couple of months,” Hafur said.

According to the Department of Agriculture, there have been no reported cases originating from grooming facilities in Colorado. Another statement from the American Veterinary Medical Association on Dec. 6 said such viral outbreaks occur regularly and are not cause for fresh alarm.

“I think the public needs to understand that canine infectious respiratory disease is always around,” Hafur said.

Haffur cited recent examples of untreated dogs and stressed the need for more care due to fears of cancellations in the coming months.

“If they get matted, they have to be shaved. Sometimes it causes skin conditions under the coat,” Hafur said. “Our groomers are the first line of defense for finding medical health issues that might otherwise go undiagnosed until your next visit with the veterinarian.”

A faded, unkempt dog, before and after, courtesy of: Janet Huffor, owner of Stubby's Dog Wash & Grooming Salon
A faded, unkempt dog, before and after, courtesy of: Janet Huffor, owner of Stubby's Dog Wash & Grooming Salon
A faded, unkempt dog, before and after, courtesy of: Janet Huffor, owner of Stubby's Dog Wash & Grooming Salon
Shaggy, unkempt dog, before and after, courtesy of: Janet Huffor, owner of Stubby's Dog Wash & Grooming Salon
A faded, unkempt dog, before and after, courtesy of: Janet Huffor, owner of Stubby's Dog Wash & Grooming Salon
A faded, unkempt dog, before and after, courtesy of: Janet Huffor, owner of Stubby's Dog Wash & Grooming Salon
Shaggy, unkempt dog, before and after, courtesy of: Janet Huffor, owner of Stubby's Dog Wash & Grooming Salon
A faded, unkempt dog, before and after, courtesy of: Janet Huffor, owner of Stubby's Dog Wash & Grooming Salon
A faded, unkempt dog, before and after, courtesy of: Janet Huffor, owner of Stubby's Dog Wash & Grooming Salon
A faded, unkempt dog, before and after, courtesy of: Janet Huffor, owner of Stubby's Dog Wash & Grooming Salon
A faded, unkempt dog, before and after, courtesy of: Janet Huffor, owner of Stubby's Dog Wash & Grooming Salon

Highlighting ways to protect pets from the virus, Huffor recommends ensuring vaccinations and choosing licensed grooming facilities. Additionally, she advises owners to inquire about sanitation procedures, if they screen where the dog has been and the dog’s current health status, and for high-risk dogs. Consider a one-on-one grooming appointment.

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