Veterinarians are concerned about the spread of “unusual” respiratory illnesses among dogs in Colorado Springs

Veterinarians are concerned about the spread of “unusual” respiratory illnesses among dogs in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) – A highly contagious and potentially fatal disease for dogs is spreading in Colorado Springs, and veterinary clinics are now warning dog owners as the number of cases increases.

Pine Creek Veterinary Hospital says they’ve seen five cases in the past month that match the symptoms of the new illness, but they add that local emergency hospitals they’ve been in contact with have reported nine cases in just the past week. Some of these cases proved fatal.

“There is no known cure because we don’t know what we’re up against,” explains Christy Fisher, co-owner of Pine Creek Veterinary Hospital.

Typically, respiratory problems in dogs are tested and traced to “kennel cough” or canine influenza, which saw outbreaks in Chicago and then Colorado Springs years ago. However, Fisher says this new disease is different from those typical diagnoses.

“But what was notable was that patients with kennel cough usually cleared up on their own, and ironically the patients who had this, they didn’t seem to recover, and if they did, they came back, which is unusual.

If a dog becomes infected with the virus, Fisher says he will develop a severe cough, producing a lot of mucus and phlegm.

Fisher now recommends doing your best to direct your dog away from populated areas, especially before the holiday season.

“Do not take them to a boarding facility, and avoid dog parks, doggie daycare centers, and dog grooming facilities,” Fisher said.

When she heard about the disease, she took precautions, says Katherine Loll, a frequent user of Bear Creek Dog Park in Colorado Springs with her four-year-old dog.

“I made an appointment with a vet and had her thoroughly examined and vaccinated,” Loll explained.

But she says she doesn’t plan to limit the time she spends outdoors with her best friend.

“I will not live in fear. I will monitor her and if she shows any signs of shortness of breath or coughing or anything else, I will take care of her,” Lol said.

Fisher explained to KRDO13 that there are limited options for treatment, and all clinics are receiving as much data as possible as more dogs are tested to determine the appropriate way to attack the new virus.

“I hope it doesn’t last long,” Fisher said. “But it looks like it’s here to stay.”

If your dog is showing symptoms of excess mucus or an abnormal cough, we recommend that you visit your veterinarian or animal care provider.

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