Contagious canine infection spreading at new dog park

Several cases of a contagious infection in dogs have been reported and it is being linked to one place.

Local veterinarians say they are seeing an increase in kennel cough from dogs visiting Traverse City's new dog park.

Lisa Baker brings her dog, Ellie, to the park three to four times a week to play off leash.

Baker says, "Last week I brought the dog home from the park and noticed little bit of eye discharge and that weird cough."

Dr. Jennifer Klabunde a vet at Northwood Animal Hospital, diagnosed the dog with kennel cough. She says other dogs thatâ??ve been to the park have come down with the same illness.

Dr. Klabunde says, "It is an extremely contagious bacterial disease spread through the air so dogs breathing and coughing will spread it."

It is against dog park rules to bring unvaccinated dogs or dogs that are sick to the park, but Dr. Klabunde says pet owners may not realize there is a vaccine for kennel cough.

The vaccine runs about $20.

Baker says, "I'm not going and that is sad. I want to support the dog park and I thought it was a great idea. Until I can protect my pet, keeping her safe and healthy is more important than a play date."

Dr. Klabunde insists the dog park is a great place for dogs as long as they're vaccinated and are updated with heart worm medication.