Mysterious Respiratory Disease Infecting Dogs Across the U.S.
A mysterious respiratory illness that proved resistant to antibiotics is infecting canines in multiple states. Hundreds of dogs throughout Oregon, Colorado, and New Hampshire have been diagnosed with the disease, which causes lasting respiratory disease and pneumonia.
According to the Associated Press, the Oregon Department of Agriculture has documented over 200 cases of the disease since August. Pet owners are advised to report to their veterinarians immediately if they think their animal is sick. Symptoms include sneezing and coughing, along with nasal and eye discharge. Many dogs also exhibit a general lethargy. In the case of pneumonia, some dogs see cases develop swiftly over 24–36 hours, while in others it takes longer to manifest.
At this time, the disease has been resistant to antibiotic treatment. Medical professionals and vets have found themselves baffled by the virus, and are holding out hope that further study will provide some answers.
“Unfortunately, right now, nobody knows what it is,” veterinarian Mike Hutchinson reported to CBS News Pittsburgh. “For viruses, there’s really no good anti-viral on the market. However, we can [treat] the symptoms sometimes by nebulizing them or giving them some support, fluids, things that they need.”
David Needle, a senior veterinary pathologist at the University of New Hampshire’s New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, has been researching the disease for a year now. He and his team have examined samples from the Eastern U.S. and will soon investigate those from Colorado and Oregon.
Needle reported to AP that he and his researchers haven’t seen an excessive number of dogs die from the illness. However, he advised owners to “decrease contact with other dogs” out of an abundance of caution.
While speaking to CBS Pittsburgh, Hutchinson warned owners in the affected states to exercise caution before sending dogs to daycare with other canines. “Most of the daycares require that all of the vaccines are up to date, that they have a health certificate from their veterinarian,” Hutchinson said. “So most of the time you’re putting healthy dogs into that area. But you get one dog that’s sick, it’s like the schoolyard cold, then the rest of them can get that cold.”