Local residents Stacey A. Stephenson and Shelby Wren were distraught when their dogs became very ill with what they now know is a highly infectious canine upper respiratory infection.

These infections may lead to "kennel cough" (Bordatello), or the equivalent of the human flu, Canine Influenza or "dog flu."

Vet bills can be very costly. The number of pill bottles seen in the picture posted to Stacey's Facebook page lead you to believe that this is pretty serious and could also be rather expensive. If you have several dogs and they all pass it to each other, you are looking at a lot of bills. The couple has three dogs.

"It's heartbreaking to hear our dogs hacking up a lung, and the vet bill was not cheap," Stephenson said.

Although vaccinated dogs are more protected from it, they are still susceptible to the illness. All three of their adorable dogs, Copper, Macy and Simon, contracted the illness despite being vaccinated against it. The couple has felt incredibly helpless watching all of their babies laying around, all sick and sad. Hopefully, with the help of medicine, they will be on the mend soon.

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According to AppleValleyVets.com, the following symptoms might indicate your dog is suffering from an upper respiratory infection:

  • Discharge from the nose and eyes
  • Snorting, sneezing, or other signs of breathing problems
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Weight loss and loss of interest in food
  • Listlessness or fatigue
  • Fever
  • Coughing, (dry or productive), retching, or gagging

The illness is even worse for older dogs. "Macy, our oldest, was coughing up mucous the size of my palm. The coughing is horrible in older dogs," Shelby Wren told 94.5 FMX.

Poor Macy. We sure hope she gets better soon, along with Copper and Simon.

Because of the highly contagious nature of canine upper respiratory infections, it may be a good idea to keep your pups away from their pals at the park and to pay special attention to your dog's behavior. We don't need a city full of sick dogs...on top of a city full of sick people.

Luckily, the canine infection cannot spread to adults. We've done enough social distancing over the last year to understand how much it can help to stop the spread of infectious disease, and this one is no different.

Dogs are our family. Let's try to stop the spread together before it gets any worse.

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