2023 Canine Respiratory Disease Outbreak

2023 Canine Respiratory Disease Outbreak

3 minute read

11/21/23 Canine Respiratory Disease Outbreak 

An outbreak of a mysterious canine respiratory disease is sweeping the Pacific Northwest & United States this fall. The yet-to-be-known disease has been causing potentially life threatening respiratory infections in dogs since earlier this season. While disease outbreak of any form can be concerning, there is no need to panic. Here is what we know so far:

Oregons Department of Agriculture began receiving reports from veterinarians as early as August of 2023 about an a-typical respiratory infection that was coming into their clinics. Since then, they have received over 200 reports of this disease that has not been named or identified by labs. Other states have also reported seeing this illness. Initial testing seems to indicate that the disease is viral in nature which means antibiotics will not cure it (though they may help with secondary infections) and it is likely contagious through airborne particles, direct contact and shared items (water bowls, beds, toys, etc.). It is still unclear how "deadly" the disease is and initial reports show that severe or deadly cases are relatively rare in infected animals. 

The symptoms of this illness include: coughing (especially chronic or lasting more than a few weeks), sneezing, nasal or eye discharge, fever, lethargy. Wheezing or whistling sounds when breathing, labored or difficulty breathing, pale or blue-ish gums, or unresponsiveness are emergency symptoms and you should take your dog to the nearest vet immediately!

With the approach of the holiday season, many dogs are preparing for boarding as their humans visit families or travel. So here are some tips to keep your pup safe!

  • Keep them home if they are showing signs of illness (no matter what kind of illness). That means no dog park, no daycare, no grooming, no boarding. While this may interfere with your holiday plans, limiting the spread of potentially deadly illnesses should always be a priority. 
  • Keep them vaccinated. While we don't yet know specifically what disease this is, we do know that vaccines are effective and keeping your pet up to date keeps them protected from a host of illnesses!
  • Remember their general health promotes a good immune system. Just as you take care of yourself by eating well, getting movement and good sleep, the same applies for your pets! 
  • Always contact a vet regarding specific questions about your pets health! Remember that internet research is never a good substation for veterinary advice.

For more information, check out this article.


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