Nov 20, 2023 - Health

Mysterious illness affecting dogs in several states

Illustration of a dog wearing a collar with a metal pendant in the shape of a question mark.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

A mysterious and highly infectious respiratory disease is affecting dogs in at least four states.

Driving the news: The symptoms, which include coughing, sneezing, loss of appetite, and lethargy, are perplexing veterinarians due to the similarities to kennel cough.

  • However, this illness tends to last longer and, in some cases, has been fatal.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratory is working to determine the cause of the illness, which is airborne and transmitted through contact.

Zoom out: Cases have been detected in Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon and Rhode Island, though experts believe it could be much more widespread, per the New York Times.

Zoom in: The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) has documented more than 200 cases since mid-August.

Be smart: If pet owners notice symptoms in their canine, they're instructed to contact their veterinarian as soon as possible.

  • "Because of the broad spectrum of potential respiratory diseases, there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation, and working with a veterinarian is the best way to ensure that owners have accurate information that is appropriate for their situation," ODA spokesperson Andrea Cantu-Schomus said in a statement.
  • Owners should also ensure their dogs are fully vaccinated and avoid contact with other dogs from outside their household until the illness is contained, Dr. Kurt Williams of the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory recommended.

Go deeper: Colorado dogs getting mysterious illness and cough

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