Mysterious Illness Affecting Dogs in the North East: What You Need to Know

We understand that your furry companions are an integral part of your lives, and their well-being is of utmost importance to you. We want to keep you informed about a concerning situation that has been affecting dogs in the North East and beyond. A mysterious respiratory illness has been sickening dogs across several states in the United States, leaving both pet owners and veterinarians concerned. In this post, we aim to provide you with information about this illness and offer some recommendations to help keep your beloved pets safe.

Symptoms to Look Out For: Dogs affected by this mysterious illness display symptoms similar to kennel cough, an upper respiratory infection. These symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Intermittent loss of appetite

In more severe cases, dogs may develop pneumonia, and veterinarians have reported seeing blue and purple gums in these instances. What sets this illness apart from kennel cough is the duration of symptoms. While kennel cough typically clears up in one to three weeks, this new respiratory illness can persist for six weeks or even longer.

Where Has This Illness Been Reported? As of now, cases of this mysterious respiratory illness have been reported in several states, including Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Illinois, Maryland, and Wyoming. The exact number of affected dogs is uncertain due to the lack of official data on cases.

The Cause Remains Unclear: One of the most significant challenges in addressing this illness is the uncertainty surrounding its cause. Researchers are actively conducting tests to learn more about its origins and nature. There is disagreement within the veterinary community regarding whether the illness is caused by a virus or bacteria.

Some experts, like Dr. David Needle from the New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, believe bacteria may be responsible based on their observations. On the other hand, some veterinarians in Oregon suspect a viral origin because affected dogs have not responded to antibiotics. The consensus is that dogs are most likely to develop the illness when they have been in close contact with other dogs, such as in boarding facilities, doggy day care centers, or dog parks.

What Should Dog Owners Do? First and foremost, it’s essential not to panic if your dog starts showing symptoms. Instead, take proactive steps to ensure their well-being:

  • Isolate your dog if it displays symptoms, just as you would with any contagious illness.
  • Contact your veterinarian for guidance and to schedule an examination for your pet.
  • If your dog has been in close contact with other dogs, consider limiting their exposure to such environments, especially during peak holiday boarding and day care periods.

Dr. Stephen Kochis, the chief medical officer for the Oregon Humane Society, emphasizes the importance of staying calm and taking appropriate precautions. He recommends isolating dogs with respiratory symptoms, contacting your veterinarian promptly, and seeking medical attention if necessary.

We understand that this situation can be unsettling for pet owners, but it’s crucial to stay informed and take proactive measures to protect your furry friends.