Hundreds of dogs in as many as 16 states have contracted a mysterious respiratory illness that has spread across the U.S. since August. Some canines have died as a result.
A variety of dog breeds have been affected by the illness, which has symptoms are similar to Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex, or kennel cough. That’s a highly contagious respiratory disease, which affects breathing passages and the lungs.
While the illness mimics kennel cough, its symptoms do not diminish with kennel cough treatments. Humans and other pets are not believed to be at risk from the illness.
What’s causing the illness – which doesn’t yet have a name – is unknown. However, researchers in New Hampshire say they have identified a pathogen, an organism that causes disease in a host, that may be causing the illness, NBC News reported.
What are the symptoms of the 2023 mystery dog illness?
Researchers described the pathogen as “a funky bacterium” that may be able to defeat canine immune systems.
It was discovered by genetic sequencing of samples from 70 dogs, according to scientists at the University of New Hampshire’s Veterinary Diagnosis Laboratory and the Hubbard Center for Genome Studies.
However, even though a bacteria or virus is found in a sick dog, it doesn’t mean the pathogen is what’s causing the disease, said Dr. Jason Stull, an assistant professor of veterinary preventative medicine at the Ohio State University, told USA TODAY.
To collect more information, the American Veterinary Medical Association has asked local vets to report on cases they encounter.
Dog sickness map: Which states have reported dog respiratory sickness?
Nevada is not on the veterinary association’s official list of states in which cases have been recorded. However, a veterinarian in Henderson, Nevada, has reported at least four cases.
How does the dog illness spread to other dogs?
How can you protect your dog from respiratory illness?
◾ Avoid boarding your dog in an area with a high number of other dogs.
◾ Make sure your dog is fully vaccinated.
◾ Monitor your dog for signs of infection and contact a vet as soon as possible if symptoms occur.
CONTRIBUTING Eduardo Cuevas, USA TODAY
SOURCE USA TODAY Network reporting and research; Associated Press