What you should know about the “Mysterious” Canine Respiratory Disease

A brindle and white pitbull mix puppy with brown eyes looks at the camera with puppy dog eyes

If you’ve been watching the news lately, you may have seen a story about a “mysterious” canine respiratory disease. Veterinarians across the country are reporting an increased number of dogs presenting with acute respiratory infections ranging from mild and self-limiting to life-threatening pneumonia. This canine respiratory disease is receiving attention because it does not respond to commonly prescribed antibiotics, and diagnostic testing is often negative for known canine pathogens.

At Anicira, we have not had any unusual cases of respiratory disease in our canine patients. Our hospital teams are staying up-to-date with the most current information about the illness, and we are increasing safety protocols as the situation continues to develop.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Labored breathing
  • Nose or eye discharge
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite

If your dog is suffering from a respiratory disease, make sure you tell your veterinary care team when scheduling your appointment so that necessary precautions can be taken for your visit.

How does it spread?

In most cases, respiratory illnesses like these spread via dog-to-dog contact. We recommend monitoring your dog closely for signs of illness, particularly if they frequent dog parks, dog daycare, or boarding facilities. Please seek veterinary care early in the course of any illness and do not wait until symptoms become severe.

How can I protect my pet?

We also recommend ensuring your dog is up to date on Bordetella, Parainfluenza, and Influenza vaccines. Although these pathogens may not be the primary cause of this outbreak, concurrent infection may lead to more severe illness.

Avoid places where your dog comes in contact with other dogs, like dog parks, daycare, groomers, or at boarding facilities.

What is the treatment?

The treatment is highly dependent upon how severe the symptoms are. Treatments may include:
– Cough suppressants to increase comfort for more mild illness
– Hospitalization for rehydration, nebulization, intravenous antibiotics, oxygen therapy, or ventilatory support may be required for more severely affected dogs.

Can my dog get tested?

Since the origin of the illness has not yet been identified, testing has been inconclusive. If your dog develops respiratory symptoms, please seek veterinary care.

Precautions we are taking at Anicira

In addition to our robust cleaning and infectious disease protocols, our veterinary hospital is taking extra precautions for the health and safety of all pets in our care. We use disinfectants that are effective against nonenveloped viruses and hardy pathogens. All areas of the hospital are sanitized. Although we have not had any unusual cases of respiratory disease in our canine patients, we have protocols in place to keep any pet suspected of an infectious disease completely isolated from other pets in the hospital.