Labs in at least four states are investigating a mysterious respiratory disease in dogs that has symptoms similar to kennel cough, but veterinarians say the symptoms can last much longer and in some cases. It is said that it can lead to death.
Infected dogs develop a cough, fever, lethargy, and intermittent loss of appetite. Veterinarians say older dogs and dogs with health problems are being hospitalized or dying from unexplained illnesses.
There are no official statistics on the number of cases, but veterinarians said they had treated many more dogs with similar symptoms in the past few months. At least four states have reported cases: Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon and Rhode Island, but experts suspect the disease is spreading more widely.
Dr. Lindsay Ganser, a veterinarian and CEO of North Springs Veterinary Referral Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said she has treated about 35 dogs with the disease since late October.
Four dogs had to be euthanized or die. She said she has treated infected dogs of various breeds and ages. Some people had only a cough, while others had pneumonia.
But they had one thing in common. That means they were spending time in areas with large numbers of dogs, such as boarding facilities, doggy daycares, and dog parks. Ganser said veterinarians are concerned that cases will rise as more dog owners take their dogs for rides or leave them at day care over the holidays.
“We really want to get the word out there that people will be less inclined to do things like that,” she said. “The whole veterinary community is kind of scared.”
Since mid-August, veterinarians in Oregon have reported more than 200 cases, according to . American Veterinary Medical Association.
Dr. Steven Cochis, chief medical officer for the Oregon Humane Society, said he doesn’t want people to panic because this number represents a small number of all dogs in the state.
“We don’t see an increase in respiratory illnesses beyond what we would normally expect for pets to get respiratory illnesses,” he said. He added that there are many respiratory diseases that can be treated.
For example, dogs with kennel cough may exhibit similar symptoms such as cough, loss of appetite, fever, and fatigue, but the condition usually resolves within 1 to 3 weeks. Owners don’t need to worry if their dog shows symptoms of this new disease, but they should be proactive.
“We are all experiencing coronavirus,” he said. “If your dog shows signs of respiratory illness, isolate it at home and contact your veterinarian for evaluation.”
Dogs can usually recover from respiratory illnesses on their own or with the help of antibiotics, but that’s not always the case in this case, says Curt, director of the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Williams said. at Oregon State University.
“In these dogs, symptoms lasted longer or went into a downward spiral, leading to very serious outcomes, including death,” he said.
Experts are not sure whether this disease is caused by bacteria or a virus. Some veterinarians in Oregon have hypothesized that the condition may be viral after the dogs they treated did not respond to antibiotics.
“I’m open to it being either way, and I’m open to it being something we haven’t even thought about,” Dr. Williams said.
Dr. David Needle, a senior veterinary pathologist at the New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, has been studying the disease for about a year.
Dr. Needle and colleagues at the university’s Hubbard Genome Research Center are conducting tests to determine whether disease-causing microorganisms share the same genetic makeup based on samples taken from around the country to shed light on the situation. I’m thinking of doing it.
“Something serious is happening,” he said. “We don’t know yet if it’s the same thing.”