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A Closer Look at the Emerging Canine Respiratory Illness

In recent months, a new, highly contagious respiratory illness has emerged among our canine companions, sending concern through the dog-owning community. At AAH we suggest caution rather than panic but as responsible pet owners, it is crucial to stay informed about the latest developments regarding matters of our pets’ health.  We hope that this post sheds light on the recent surge in cases of dog respiratory illness, exploring it’s causes, symptoms, and preventative measures you can take to protect your pet.

Understanding the Illness:

The first step in addressing this new challenge is to understand the nature of the illness. Evidence suggests that it predominantly impacts a dog's respiratory system, and veterinarians are putting in extensive efforts to pinpoint the precise virus or bacteria accountable for this condition, which has shown minimal or no responsiveness to antibiotic treatment.

While the cause and subsequent treatment remains unknown, research has shown that the illness can progress in three ways: a mild to moderate cough with prolonged duration, (for six to eight weeks or longer), that doesn't respond to antibiotics or is only minimally responsive to antibiotic treatment; chronic pneumonia that doesn't respond to antibiotics; or severe pneumonia that often leads to poor outcomes in as little as 24 - 36 hours. It is crucial for dog owners to be vigilant and recognize the early signs of respiratory distress in their pets.

It is important to note that by the time symptoms are noted and dogs are examined by their veterinarians, many have already undergone a contagious shedding phase, potentially spreading the illness to other animals. The likelihood of dogs contracting the infection increases when they are in close proximity to other dogs, such as at day care, dog parks, grooming facilities, or boarding kennels.

Symptoms to Watch Out For:

Common symptoms of the new dog respiratory illness include but are not limited to:

Persistent Coughing: If your dog is experiencing frequent and persistent coughing, it may be indicative of respiratory illness.


Nasal and/or Eye Discharge


Labored Breathing: Difficulty breathing or rapid breaths, especially from the stomach, could signal a more advanced stage of the illness, such as severe pneumonia, and should be addressed promptly.

Blue or Purple Gums: Due to not getting enough oxygen.

Preventive Measures:

While researchers work to uncover the full scope of this respiratory challenge, there are steps owners can take to protect their pets.

Vaccination: Stay updated on your dog's vaccinations. Several vaccines are available to combat respiratory illnesses. If you are uncertain about your pet’s vaccination history, feel free to reach out to us. It is essential to confirm that your pet is protected and that their immunizations are up to date.

Reduce Contact with Unknown Dogs: The more contacts your dog has, the greater the risk of encountering a dog that is infectious.

Avoid communal bowls shared by multiple dogs.

Ask for Information: Ask your pet's groomer, day care or boarding facility what preventative cleaning or observation measures they are taking to keep your dog safe. Ask what vaccinations are required for the animals in their care.

Traveling for the holiday? Ask friends and family if their dogs are vaccinated for respiratory illness and if they have shown any signs of illness.

Isolation of Sick Dogs: If your dog exhibits symptoms, contact us immediately and isolate them from other dogs to prevent the potential spread of the illness.

When in Doubt, Get Checked Out: Pet owners know their dog better than anyone. If something seems off, it may be. Contact us for a same-day appointment!

As the veterinary community continues to investigate and understand the new dog respiratory illness, it is essential for pet owners to remain informed and proactive in safeguarding their pets' health. By staying vigilant, following preventive measures, and seeking prompt veterinary care, we can collectively work towards ensuring the well-being of our canine family members.

If you have any questions or concerns about this new respiratory illness, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We are committed to your pet's wellbeing and are always available to guide you on your pet's healthcare journey.



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