Feb 21, 2024 - News

Cases of Colorado dogs with mysterious illness and cough decline

Illustration of a warning road sign showing a silhouette of a dog.

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Dogs and their owners can breathe a sigh of relief.

What's happening: The highly contagious respiratory illness that's been making hundreds of dogs sick in Colorado and several other states is tailing off, according to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

  • Cases of the disease β€” which includes symptoms like coughing, sneezing and lethargy β€” have "significantly dropped" since peaking in late 2023.

Why it matters: Many canines that caught the illness had to be hospitalized. The number of cases that evolved into "severe" pneumonia more than doubled at Colorado State University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

The intrigue: Researchers still aren't sure what spurred the origin of last fall's spike.

  • The wave of disease differed from previous versions, CSU scientists say, with more dogs experiencing prolonged coughs and developing secondary pneumonia.

What they're saying: "It is good news to see that the number of cases of canine respiratory disease continues to decline," Colorado State Veterinarian Dr. Maggie Baldwin said Wednesday in a statement.

  • "However, it's important to continue to manage animal vaccines and lifestyles appropriately," including continuing vaccinations for respiratory disease annually, she said.

Be smart: Veterinarians advise pet owners to consult with their care providers on the best practices for dogs that are frequently in high-social situations, immunocompromised and older.

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