Canine Respiratory Disease: Protecting Your Pup

Canine Respiratory Disease: Protecting Your Pup

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You may have heard of the unknown respiratory disease spreading throughout Colorado and several other states. Unfortunately, not much is known at this time about the disease or how it spreads. Luckily, there are ways to protect your pup. 

Let’s discuss: what do we know about this mystery disease, where is it, why is it happening, and how can you help keep your pet safe? 

What is it? 

This illness is believed to have first been noted in Oregon in August 2023. Here in Colorado, it was first documented in September. This has been a scientific mystery, and there are still many unknowns. 

 Symptoms include those of a typical pet illness: unusual sluggishness, coughing, and sneezing. Treatments are tailored to symptoms, so there is not a uniform protocol for this illness. If you suspect your pet is sick, consider taking them to the vet.

According to the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association, “if your dog has a lingering cough, weakness, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, worsening of illness, and/or a cough that causes the dog to vomit or makes it hard for the animal to breathe, your dog should be seen by its veterinarian.”

Where is it? 

In addition to Colorado, states that have been impacted include California, Florida, Nevada, Texas, and Washington. Notably, Oregon has seen more than 200 cases as of the beginning of December. 

For a full list of the states with the prevalence of “Atypical Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex,” check out this list from The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine.

Why is it happening?

Interestingly enough, COVID-19 may play a role in the rise of cases, according to Scott Weese at the University of Guelph-Ontario Veterinary College. The pandemic led to an increase of dog ownership. During this time, pets were much less likely to have boarding care.

Much like how you may have found your own immune system to be weaker since the pandemic, the same may be true of our pets. Having less exposure to other animals and potentially lower vaccination rates may have resulted in weaker immune systems according to The Denver Post

How can you keep your pet safe? 

Much like the common cold, flu, or COVID, travel during the holidays can result in an increase of sickness. The same can be true for our furry friends. There may be increased levels of socializing with other animals whether it be from travel or boarding. 

Ensuring your pet is up to date on their vaccines is the best protection against sickness. Also like us humans, if your pet is sick, make sure to keep them home and away from other pets!  

Most dogs that experience this illness have mild symptoms, especially those vaccinated against respiratory illness according to Oregon Veterinary Medical Association. If your dog has other health challenges, they may experience more severe symptoms. So, take extra care to protect your pet if they have a vulnerable immune system.

When it comes to protecting our pup from illness, it is not very different from protecting ourselves. So, stay safe out there and protect yourself and your fur babies how you can! 

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