Kennel Cough/Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)
Most dogs that leave the shelter do have kennel cough and most cats have a URI that they acquired at the shelter. This is not something to fear and it should not deter you from adopting. Most times, it is just a “cold” and it will clear up within 10 days. The shelter will give you antibiotics when they release the animal to you.
While it is contagious, most people avoid the spread of this upper respiratory infection, by keeping their animals separated for the first few days and not sharing water bowls for at least a week or two. Many report that even with minimal contact, their current healthy pets did not catch it.
Unless you have a very young or very old medically-fragile pet, the URI should not develop past a “cold” and is not a reason to NOT adopt. That said, please make sure your own pet is up-to-date on all vaccinations, including the canine influenza vaccination, before bringing them into the shelters and before bringing an animal from the shelter into your home.