A respiratory illness is spreading among dogs in several states and veterinarians haven’t figured out what is making them sick.
Veterinarians are encouraging dog owners to take precautions to keep their pets safe as veterinarians investigate the illness. Dogs are getting sick with lasting respiratory disease and pneumonia. The illness does not appear to respond to antibiotics.
Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, nasal and/or eye discharge, and lethargy. Some cases of pneumonia quickly become severe and make dogs severely sick in as little as 24 to 36 hours.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) has received more than 200 case reports from veterinarians since the middle of August, said Andrea Cantu-Schomus, communications director with the ODA, on November 16.
“Based on the epidemiology of the cases reported at this point, the cases appear to share a viral etiology, but common respiratory diagnostic testing has been largely negative,” Cantu-Schomus said. “A handful of cases do test positive for M. cynos, but that agent is not believed to be the underlying causative agent.”
Dogs are most likely to get sick by being in close contact with numerous other dogs. That includes places like daycare, dog parks, groomers, or boarding kennels. Since mid-August, the ODA has received reports of more than 200 cases of the illness from across the state. It’s not known how many dogs have died.
What are the symptoms of this illness?
If your dog has any of these symptoms you should contact your veterinarian.
According to the ODA, the cases include the following symptoms:
Nasal and/or eye discharge.
Symptoms also include chronic mild to moderate inflammation of the trachea lasting six to eight weeks or longer, which is minimally or not responsive to antimicrobials. Chronic pneumonia that is minimally or not responsive to antimicrobials. Acute pneumonia that rapidly becomes severe and often leads to poor outcomes in as little as 24 to 36 hours.
Where have there been cases?
TODAY reported that there have been cases matching the description of the illness in the following states:
New Hampshire and the surrounding Northeast area
What should dog owners do?
Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Director Dr. Kurt Williams said pet owners should make sure their dogs are fully vaccinated and to avoid contact with other dogs from outside their household until the illness is contained.
Dog owners can take steps to keep their dogs safe by reducing contact with large numbers of unknown dogs, keeping their dogs away from other dogs that appear sick, and keeping sick dogs at home.
Avoid water bowls that are shared by multiple dogs and ask your veterinarian which vaccinations your dog should have. Some common vaccinations include canine influenza, Bordetella, and parainfluenza.
If you have concerns, you should contact your veterinarian.
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