A mysterious respiratory canine illness has reached its way to eastern states.
USA TODAY reported that the disease has been detected in 14 states with Pennsylvania being added to the list on Thursday per CBS News. There is not much information available about the new sickness, which can leave pet owners frightened. Some experts, however, have weighed in with some analysis and observations that can shed some insight on this ongoing problem.
What is known about this respiratory dog disease
The states where this respiratory dog disease has been detected are California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
The fatality number nationwide is unknown, but veterinarians and animal sanctuaries in Oregon reported more than 200 cases since August.
Some of the symptoms of this mysterious disease include chronic mild-moderate tracheobronchitis, chronic and acute pneumonia, wheezing, dry coughing, dehydration, nasal or eye discharge and difficult or rapid breathing.
According to David Needle, University of New Hampshire’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory senior veterinary pathologist, illnesses that deal with respiratory problems are typically spread through close contact and breathing the same air, so that can possibly be why the sickness is increasing across many states.
Other experts like Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture spokesperson Shannon Powers have said the disease could be fatal for dogs who have underlying health problems.
Not kennel cough?
Although these symptoms appear to be very similar to that of kennel cough, this disease is a completely separate phenomenon mainly because these symptoms do not go away with treatment like they do with kennel cough.
Dog owner Wendy Brown from Idaho appeared on “Good Morning America” two weeks ago to talk about the illness her three golden retrievers have been experiencing. “The vet started him on a 10-day cycle of doxycycline. Today was day 10 and he is not a lot better,” said Brown.
According to Melissa Justice, a veterinarian at the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, this particular illness does not respond to the normal medication and lasts more than the seven to 10 days which eliminates the possibility of kennel cough.
What can owners do to protect their dog
Here are some tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association and other veterinarians:
- Contact your vet immediately if your dog is experiencing any of the symptoms above and make sure they do not come in close contact with other pets.
- Make sure your dog is fully vaccinated, especially for kennel cough. Although this may not eliminate or prevent the mystery disease, vaccines can be important to the overall health of your dog and can help build up their immune system,
- If your dog is experiencing symptoms consider “social distancing” your dog if possible. Avoid dog parks, grooming facilities and pet stores.