NewsCovering Colorado


Some doggy businesses starting to rebound again after dogs were kept away

Posted at 6:54 PM, Jan 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-27 00:32:12-05

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — Local veterinary clinics are seeing some success treating a mysterious respiratory illness in dogs.

Researchers at Colorado State University say the infection was first detected in the state last fall.

Meanwhile, business owners that cater to our four-legged family members say customers have stopped using their services.

The holiday season was tough for companies like Stubby's Dog Wash and Grooming Salon on York Road. Owner Janet Huffor says her booking dropped by a third during the holidays.

"On a busy day we would usually see around 30 dogs," Huffor says. "We do have 7 groomers here actively grooming our pups and if it were a busy day and we saw 30 dogs during November and December, we were seeing in between 5 to 10 dogs a day."

The drop in the number of doggy clients took a heavy toll on staff.

"What's complicated for groomers is that they are paid a commission, and so if they're not working and doing dogs, they're not getting paid," Huffor says.

Dogs started showing up at local veterinarian offices with a hacking cough that lasted for days. Problem was no one had a clue what was making them sick. Ashley Miller, a Veterinary Technician and Manager of Respiratory Research at North Springs Referral Center tells News 5, "We do know a lot of those patients that we've done PCR tests on are testing negative for bordetella and influenza, and some of the common canine infectious respiratory diseases that we see, but we're still working to identify exactly what it is."

Dogs have been treated successfully with antibiotics.

"That is the general treatment protocol that has worked for a lot of them and depending on the severity of the pneumonia they present to us with, a lot of them have needed hospitalization have needed those medications intravenously first before they could go home with oral meds."

As dogs health start to improve, so has business at Stubby's.

"Just this week alone about 50-percent of the dogs we have come in have ended up having to be shaved a lot shorter, or an extra grooming process that were really matted," Huffor says.

She continued, "We miss the dogs. These groomers are in the business of taking care of pets and it's a joy to have them back."

Staff at the local veterinary clinic we spoke with say of the dogs they have treated with this infection, one has died.

Remember, If your dog must be boarded or groomed make sure they are up to date on their vaccines.


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