In recent headlines, an alarming surge in cases of a mysterious respiratory illness in dogs has caught the attention of pet owners nationwide. Over the past 18 months, reports of this atypical syndrome have surfaced, raising concerns among dog lovers.
In this blog post, we aim to address the frequently asked questions surrounding this outbreak, shedding light on the symptoms, transmission, prevention, and potential treatments for this canine respiratory condition.
What is the mysterious respiratory illness in dogs making headlines?
There has been a notable increase in canine respiratory cases over the past 18 months, particularly in the Northeast, Southeast, Pacific Northwest, California, and Colorado. While there is ongoing coverage of this issue, it’s important to note that there hasn’t been a recent surge, and the risk of severe illness in affected dogs remains relatively low.
What are the symptoms of this respiratory illness?
The symptoms closely resemble those of kennel cough or canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC). Dogs may exhibit respiratory signs such as coughing, sneezing, eye and nose discharge, lethargy, decreased appetite, and fever.
Is the illness contagious?
While the exact mode of transmission is still unknown, the respiratory signs suggest that direct and indirect contact are the primary drivers of transmission. This can occur through respiratory droplets in the air and on shared surfaces.
Thankfully, there is no evidence to suggest that this illness is contagious to humans. State diagnostic laboratories have consistently tested negative for COVID-19 in samples related to this canine respiratory syndrome.
How can I protect my pet?
Ensuring your dog is up to date on vaccinations is crucial, particularly those that protect against Bordetella, Adenovirus 2, Parainfluenza, and the influenza H3N2 vaccine. It’s advisable to avoid bringing your dog into communal environments until their immune system has had sufficient time to build immunity, typically two weeks after vaccination.
Owners of immunocompromised dogs, such as puppies and senior dogs with health issues, should exercise caution when exposing them to other dogs.
What should I do if I suspect my dog has it?
If your dog is showing signs of respiratory distress, including coughing, sneezing, ocular/nasal discharge, fever, and decreased appetite, consult your primary veterinarian promptly. To minimize the spread, keep your dog isolated from others and contact your vet before bringing your pet in for an examination.
In cases of rapid or labored breathing, seek immediate attention at a veterinary emergency room. Early diagnostics can play a crucial role in managing the condition effectively.
Is there a cure for this mysterious illness?
Unlike more common respiratory infections like kennel cough and CIRDC, this atypical syndrome does not respond to standard medical therapy in all cases. The illness may progress to pneumonia, and while some cases respond to antibiotic therapy, supportive care, and oxygen support, others may deteriorate rapidly despite aggressive treatment.
As the situation unfolds, staying informed and proactive in protecting our canine companions is essential. Regular veterinary check-ups, timely vaccinations, and responsible socialization practices are key elements in safeguarding our furry friends against this mysterious respiratory syndrome. By arming ourselves with knowledge and taking appropriate precautions, we can contribute to the well-being of our beloved pets in the face of this mysterious illness.