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Getting the Facts About Canine Respiratory Disease

Canine respiratory disease is a new, mysterious illness that has been diagnosed in dogs across the country. Thousands of dogs across 16 states have become ill, and some have died. The symptoms of the illness progress quickly, and veterinarians and other experts aren’t sure what is causing it, how to treat it, or whether it is viral or bacterial. It’s important to understand the symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options for this illness in order to keep your dog safe and healthy.

How to Tell if Your Dog Has Canine Respiratory Illness

The earliest symptoms of canine respiratory illness seem like a mild cold or allergies. However, the illness progresses quickly and can cause serious breathing problems and pneumonia. Without treatment, your dog may develop acute pneumonia and his life may be at risk. Bring your dog to the veterinarian if he has any of these symptoms:

  • A cough that lasts longer than a week.
  • Difficulty breathing or blue or purple gums.
  • Wheezing.
  • Sneezing.
  • Discharge from the nose or eyes.
  • Red, watery eyes.
  • Lethargy.
  • Loss of interest in food and activities. 

How to Prevent Canine Respiratory Illness

There is no vaccination for canine respiratory illness, but getting your dog vaccinated for other respiratory illnesses can help. You can also reduce your dog’s risk of illness by:

  • Avoiding dog parks, kennels, boarding and grooming facilities, doggy daycares, dog parks, areas that are highly populated with dogs, and homes with other dogs.
  • Avoiding travel.
  • Not letting your dog sniff or touch noses with other dogs.
  • Not letting your dog share food, water, or toys with other dogs or use communal food, water bowls, or toys. 

How Canine Respiratory Illness is Treated

Veterinarians do not have a strict treatment protocol for canine respiratory illness. Right now, they are treating it like other respiratory illnesses. They are treating it with oxygen therapy, nebulizers, coupage, IV fluids, and antibiotics. 

States That Have Reported Cases of Illness

At least 16 states have reported cases of canine respiratory illness. The illness may have spread to more states that have not identified or diagnosed cases. These are the states that have reported cases:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington

If your dog has any symptoms of canine respiratory illness or is at risk of the illness, make an appointment with your veterinarian right away.