Mystery Respiratory Illness Affects Dogs in Multiple States

Across the United States, researchers are trying to understand what is causing an outbreak of infectious respiratory disease among dogs. The illness is described as an “atypical canine infectious respiratory disease,” according to the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, eye or nose discharge, and lethargy. Most dogs recover from the illness with few complications, however, a handful of cases have been fatal.

While veterinarians and researchers work together to understand the origin of this outbreak and reduce the spread, there are steps pet owners can take to protect their dogs. First, partner with your dog’s veterinarian to ensure your pup is current on respiratory disease vaccines. Limit exposure to other dogs if there is a known outbreak in your area, which may mean staying away from the dog park, doggy daycare, and the groomer for a while. And if your dog is showing symptoms including excessive coughing, labored breathing, significant lethargy, or loss of appetite, call your veterinarian immediately. Notify the clinic of these symptoms prior to your arrival so precautions can be taken to protect other dogs.