Experts advise segregating dogs during a respiratory ‘mystery illness’ outbreak

" A mysterious respiratory illness is spreading among dogs across several states, prompting urgent investigations by veterinarians. With symptoms ranging from persistent coughs to severe pneumonia, the unidentified cause raises concerns, emphasizing the need for precautionary measures and vaccination awareness."


Worldsfeed Health Desk: Reports of a potentially fatal respiratory ailment affecting dogs have emerged in multiple states, including Oregon, Indiana, Illinois, Washington, Idaho, California, Nevada, and the Northeast. Veterinarians are working urgently to identify the cause of this mysterious illness, which starts with a persistent cough resistant to traditional antibiotics and can swiftly progress to pneumonia.

Dr. Lindsay Ganzer from North Springs Veterinary Referral Center in Colorado Springs noted the rapid onset of symptoms, describing dogs transitioning from a persistent cough to developing pneumonia. Executive Director Kevin Snekvik of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab highlighted symptoms such as fever, lethargy, and a productive, wet cough.

Additional signs include sneezing, eye or nose discharge, fatigue, blue or purple gums indicating oxygen deprivation, and negative tests for common respiratory illnesses. Since mid-August, over 200 cases have been reported in Oregon alone. Samples from affected dogs with severe pneumonia are being sent to a New Hampshire research lab studying the illness since 2022.

The American Veterinary Medical Association is monitoring cases nationwide, though the total impact remains unclear. The condition is most likely contracted through close contact in places like daycare, groomers, kennels, and dog parks. Dr. Amanda Cavanaugh from Colorado State University noted an unusual spike in cases this fall, contrary to typical decreases in other contagious coughing conditions.

Kurt Williams, director of Oregon Veterinary Diagnostics Lab, is actively researching the illness. Dog owners are advised to ensure vaccinations, including for canine influenza, Bordetella, and parainfluenza. Health checks are recommended before dog events, and consultation with veterinarians for specific advice is encouraged. Snekvik advises against boarding pets over the holidays and congregating with unfamiliar dogs to minimize the risk.

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