What owners can do to keep pets safe from mysterious illness

Jan 2, 2024, 12:13 PM | Updated: 12:29 pm

AMERICAN FORK — A mysterious pet illness that has caused dogs to get sick in several states has pet owners wondering what they can do to keep their pets healthy.

Some pets have even died from the illness.

Keeping your pet safe starts with asking the right questions.

“Any time you work with animals, you worry about the transmission of germs, diseases, and other things,” said Aubrey Slabbert, owner of Synergy Pet Salon. 

Slabbert works with dogs a lot, having been a groomer for years and running her business in American Fork.

“You don’t want to wait until there is a mystery illness going around to be preventative,” Slabbert said.

According to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, 18 states have reported cases of the mysterious illness. 

Currently, Utah is not on that list. However, Idaho and Colorado have reported cases.

The American Veterinary Medical Association said it is important pet owners keep their dogs up to date on all vaccinations.

Veterinarians and pet experts also say it’s important to be vigilant at dog parks. As well as other areas where there tends to be a lot of activity and chance for spread of germs. 

Steps being taken to prevent mysterious illness

Slabbert said her company follows protocols including no dog-to-dog interactions and utilize kennels to safely separate animals.

“No dog-to-dog interaction means they are not sniffing each other,” she said. “What we have learned following this virus, is that it’s transmitted by dog-to-dog interactions, which is gonna be them sniffing, licking, saliva, and things like that.”

In addition to sanitizing between pets, they also offer one-on-one pet grooming to allow for more separation if requested.

If it is time for your pet to get a haircut, Slabbert said pet owners may want to ask their groomer questions about safety protocols.

“Making sure your groomer is licensed and doing everything within their power to be a professional and legal business,” she said.What are your policies? Do you allow any dog-to-dog interactions? How often do you sanitize your equipment in between pets? Things like that. Those are all valid and fair questions.”

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What owners can do to keep pets safe from mysterious illness