Over the last few days, we've heard a lot about the mysterious respiratory disease that's causing concerns across the country. With this increased visibility in the pet-owning public and as the we approach the holidays during which time many dogs being boarded or traveling, you may receive more inquiries than usual. We wanted to share this information we've received:
FOR CBS NEWS FROM DR. RENA CARLSON, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, RE CANINE RESPIRATORY ILLNESS
The AVMA is monitoring reports of canine respiratory illness in the state of Oregon, Colorado, Illinois, and across the country.
The AVMA has been in contact with officials in Oregon, who say they have received a little more than 200 case reports from veterinarians in that state since mid-August. Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) officials are working with state and national diagnostic laboratories to identify the causative pathogen, are asking veterinarians to report cases to the department as soon as possible, and advise dog owners to work with a veterinarian if their pet is ill.
The Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biological Sciences says, “The possible virus, which is under intense observation by Colorado State University veterinarians, has been linked to cases of severe pneumonia and, tragically, resulted in some fatalities.”
Currently, the infectious agent is not known but is under investigation. ODA says cases reported to that agency appear to primarily fall within three general clinical syndromes:
- · Chronic mild-moderate tracheobronchitis with a prolonged duration (6-8 weeks or longer) that is minimally or not responsive to antibiotics.
- · Chronic pneumonia that is minimally or not responsive to antibiotics.
- · Acute pneumonia that rapidly becomes severe and often leads to poor outcomes in as little as 24-36 hours.
Owners should monitor their dogs closely for progressive coughing that may be accompanied by signs of ocular or nasal discharges and sneezing. Please consult your veterinarian immediately if those clinical signs develop, particularly if your dog concurrently loses its appetite, has trouble breathing, is coughing continually, or is extremely lethargic.
We also strongly urge owners to keep their dog’s vaccines updated. While the existing vaccines may not specifically target this unknown infection, maintaining overall health through routine vaccinations can help support a dog’s immune system in combating various infections. Optimal protection against common respiratory infections includes the annual intranasal vaccine for Bordetella, Adenovirus type 2, and parainfluenza vaccine, combined with the injectable influenza H3N2 vaccine. Avoid bringing a dog into the community until two weeks after the last dose of a vaccine and immunity has developed.
We have been asked by journalists whether humans can catch this illness from dogs. In general, the risk of people getting sick from dogs with canine infectious respiratory disease is extremely low. However, because we don’t know yet exactly what agent or agents is or are causing the current outbreak, it’s a good idea to thoroughly wash your hands after handling your or other dogs.
Separately, the San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) is dealing with a canine respiratory illness outbreak exacerbated by overcrowding. The organization said that four of its dogs died after being infected with Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus (also known as Strep zoo), which was complicated by infection with bacterial agent in some cases.
· At this time, there are NO indications that there is a connection between the San Diego situation and the cases in Oregon, Colorado and other areas of the country.