Close this search box.
Close this search box.
Matthew Henry | Unsplash

Dog-Gone Mystery Illness: New Respiratory Infection in US Dogs Could Spread North

Canadian veterinarians are monitoring the situation closely but are advising caution

A mysterious respiratory infection affecting dogs in the United States has caught the attention of Canadian veterinarians and pet owners alike. 

The illness, presenting symptoms similar to kennel cough, has been more severe and, in some cases, fatal. Older dogs or those with existing health issues are especially vulnerable.

Symptoms and Spread

The primary symptoms include cough, fever, lethargy, and intermittent loss of appetite. 

While there is no official count of infections, cases have been reported in Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Rhode Island, and it’s suspected the illness is more widespread. 

Like with COVID-19, the best way to avoid transmission is to stay away from high-density canine environments. 

So, just as vulnerable people should avoid gyms and concerts or other places where people gather, dogs could be exposed in boarding facilities, dog parks, or daycare centers. Owners of dogs with existing health issues should avoid these areas. 

Veterinary Insights

Dr. Lindsey Ganzer, a veterinarian from Colorado, reported treating about 35 dogs with a range of symptoms from mild cough to pneumonia since late October. 

Similarly, in Oregon, over 200 cases have been reported since mid-August. 

However, Dr. Stephen Kochis from the Oregon Humane Society emphasizes that this number represents only a small fraction of the dog population and urges pet owners not to panic.

So far, the cause of the infection is unknown, but it is suspected to be bacterial pneumonia and not a viral infection.

Treatment and Concerns

Typically, dogs can recover from viral and bacterial respiratory illnesses with or without antibiotics. 

However, this mysterious illness has shown a tendency to linger longer or worsen rapidly, leading to severe outcomes. 

The exact cause, whether bacterial or viral, remains uncertain in some cases. 

Dr. Kurt Williams from Oregon State University and Dr. David Needle from the University of New Hampshire are among the experts striving to identify the nature of the illness.

Situation in Canada

In Canada, veterinarians like Daniel Joffe closely monitor the situation. 

No cases have been reported in Canada, but the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) and other experts are keeping vigilant. 

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency advises dog owners to talk to their veterinarians about travel risks and confirm their dog’s health before and after travel.

Advice for Pet Parents:

Social Media post shared thousands of times as dog owners worry about mysterious respiratory illness | Facebook

The situation calls for caution but not panic. Key recommendations include:

  • Limiting contact between dogs, especially with unfamiliar or sick dogs.
  • Isolate pets showing respiratory symptoms and consult a veterinarian.
  • Considering vaccinations against respiratory diseases.
  • Avoid dog parks and daycare facilities if your dog shows coughing or runny nose symptoms.
  • Be especially cautious with your dog if travelling to the US.

This emerging health issue in dogs requires attention and responsible dog ownership. 

While experts are still investigating the nature of the illness, preventative measures and prompt veterinary care are essential. 

Owners should remain alert but not alarmed, ensuring their pets’ health and wellbeing.

Share this story

Stories in your Inbox, daily or weekly

Choose the types of stories you receive.

Related Stories