Veterinarians across the country have seen an increase in infectious respiratory illnesses in our canine friends. With reports ranging from canine influenza outbreaks to infectious respiratory bacteria, vets are asking you to practice caution with your beloved companions.
Dogs are presenting with sniffling and sneezing at an unusually high rate over the last few months. Summer often brings a slight increase in infectious canine disease, but this season seems to be a little different. From July to now, there have been multiple reports of infectious respiratory diseases running rampant among dogs.
On September 16, Dr. Julio Lopez of the Encino Veterinary Center warned local news viewers of a serious canine influenza (H3N2 Virus) outbreak in the Los Angeles area. According to the health department, it is the largest outbreak of the dog flu on record.
On the other side of the country, Dr. Angela Lusty of Michigan’s Pierson Veterinary Hospital shared her experience battling a different form of infectious respiratory disease. These pups have the same respiratory symptoms as their friends in California, but a Mycoplasma bacteria is believed to be the cause.
Other states that have reported their own canine respiratory outbreaks include Texas, Ohio, Wyoming, and North Carolina, showing just how widespread of an issue this has become.
Some of the many symptoms that seem to be plaguing canine patients include sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, conjunctivitis, fever, and a decrease in appetite. Some of these pups have even developed secondary pneumonia in severe cases, proving that canine respiratory illness is not something to take lightly.
Many believe that kennel cough is the only factor behind coughing pups around the world, but this could not be further from the truth. There are an array of viruses and bacteria that our dogs can be exposed to, many of which can stick to surfaces that our pups come in frequent contact with.
Veterinarians state that the typical hotspots responsible for most of the outbreaks include dog parks, boarding facilities, doggy day care facilities, and animal shelters. Some of these pathogens are believed to cling to contaminated surfaces for hours, leaving a significant window for the spread of infection.
If your dog is a social pup that enjoys any of the potential hot spots listed above, there are a few ways that you can help keep them safe. First, speak with your veterinarian about their experience with any rampant illness in your area. If it seems like there is an increase in circulating disease, it may be best to avoid public settings until things die down.
Next, we suggest speaking with your vet about any vaccines you can offer to protect your pup from circulating illnesses such as the bacteria that causes kennel cough and the virus responsible for certain strains of the dog flu.
The most important advice for keeping your pup safe is to avoid dogs that are displaying any signs of illness. You should also keep your pup away from other furry friends for a minimum of 14 days if they are experiencing respiratory symptoms, as you never want to contribute to the spread in your area.