From New Hampshire to Oregon, researchers are trying to figure out why a contagious respiratory disease in dogs has turned fatal in rare cases.
The mystery illness is described as an “atypical infectious respiratory disease in dogs,” the Oregon Department of Agriculture said in a Nov. 9 news release. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, discharge from the eyes or nose, and lethargy.
Oregon veterinarians have reported more than 200 cases of the disease since mid-August. Other cases have been reported in Colorado, Illinois and New Hampshire.
“Based on the epidemiology of cases reported at this point, the cases appear to share a viral etiology, but common respiratory diagnostic tests have been largely negative,” Dr. Ryan Schulz, an Oregon veterinarian, told the American Veterinary Medical Association.
In other words, dogs with an unknown disease show signs similar to upper respiratory disease, but generally do not test positive for common respiratory diseases. Dr. David B. said: Needle, a pathologist at the New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and clinical assistant professor at the University of New Hampshire, said the disease is generally resistant to standard treatments.
“Mortality does not appear to be a large part of the syndrome we study, as rare animals develop severe and sometimes fatal pneumonia after longer chronic illness,” Needle said. “We think this may represent a secondary infection.”
Needle said he is part of a team trying to identify the disease and find common parts of DNA by collecting samples from local veterinary clinics and comparing the results.
“If what we have identified is the pathogen, the bacteria are likely to be host-adapted bacteria with a long history of colonizing dogs,” Needle said. An “evolutionary event” such as spontaneous mutation or obtaining a gene from a different source can cause bacteria to become virulent, he said.
He said researchers have received samples from Oregon and expect to receive samples from Colorado, Illinois and other states for testing.
The Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Washington has also reported cases of a mysterious illness in dogs, the lab’s director told CNN in an email.
“There is an uptick in the numbers of dogs with respiratory illness (coughing, lethargy, fever) and the signs last longer than a few days,” said Kevin Snikvik, executive director of the lab and a professor at Washington State University. University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Snekvik said his laboratory in Washington has not reported any deaths of dogs due to the mysterious disease, but he said laboratories in other states have reported a small number of deaths.
While the news may be alarming, “we suggest caution rather than concern,” says the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association website.
While this particular disease is unusual, “periodic outbreaks of canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRDC) can occur among dog populations. At least nine different bacteria and viruses have been linked as causes of CIRDC, which is transmitted by dogs,” the association said. Respiratory drops route.
“Infection with more than one bacterial or viral agent is common. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, nasal and/or eye discharge, and lethargy. If your dog exhibits these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.
The association said dog owners should help keep their pets healthy by making sure they get all vaccinations, such as canine influenza, Bordetella and parainfluenza vaccines. Other tips include:
• Reducing contact with large numbers of unknown dogs. Just as with other respiratory pathogens, the more contacts your dog has, the greater the risk of encountering an infectious dog.
• Minimize contact with sick dogs. It may be difficult to tell, but if your dog seems sick (cough, runny nose, runny eyes), keep your dog away from him.
• Keep sick dogs at home and seek veterinary care.
• Avoid water bowls shared by several dogs.