Unidentified Respiratory Disease Showing Up in Dogs Across The US

An unusual respiratory illness is currently affecting dogs, causing worry among pet owners and puzzlement among veterinarians. This disease, referred to as an “atypical canine infectious respiratory disease,” has been reported in several states, including Oregon, Colorado, and New Hampshire. Being an Oregon resident myself with 3 golden retrievers I felt the need to take precautions. Our dogs are not going to dog parks until this is identified and treatable. I tried getting them to wear masks but that did not go well.

Symptoms and Impact

The symptoms of this respiratory illness in dogs include coughing, sneezing, nasal or eye discharge, and lethargy. Some cases of the pneumonia progress quickly, making dogs very sick within 24 to 36 hours. The Oregon Department of Agriculture has documented more than 200 cases of the disease since mid-August.

Current Understanding

Veterinarians in Oregon have reported more than 200 cases of the disease since mid-August. Other cases have been reported in Colorado, Illinois, and New Hampshire. Dogs with the unidentified illness show similar signs of an upper respiratory disease but generally don’t test positive for common respiratory diseases. The disease is generally resistant to standard treatments.

Ongoing Research

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) has received over 200 reports of atypical canine infectious respiratory disease from Oregon veterinarians. ODA is actively working with reporting veterinarians and specialists at OSU’s Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine (CCVM), the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (OVDL), and the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (USDA-NVSL) and other specialists to find the causative agent behind these cases.

Advice for Dog Owners

Dog owners are advised to ensure their pets are up-to-date on their vaccines, including those for canine influenza, Bordetella, and parainfluenza. While the number of cases reported to ODA represents a very small percentage of Oregon’s dog population, periodic outbreaks of Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC) can occur in a dog population.

While the cause of this mysterious respiratory illness remains unknown, efforts are underway to identify the disease and develop effective treatments. In the meantime, dog owners are advised to monitor their pets closely for symptoms and seek veterinary care if needed.