Potentially deadly mystery illness spreading in dogs around the U.S.

Published: Nov. 21, 2023 at 10:26 AM CST
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - A mysterious and potentially deadly respiratory illness has been spreading in dogs throughout the country.

It starts as a cough that could last for several weeks and may not respond to antibiotics, which can lead to worse issues, such as shortness of breath and pneumonia, TODAY reported.

Dr. Lindsey Ganzer, veterinarian and CEO at North Springs Veterinary Referral Center in Colorado Springs, told TODAY that the illness has been reported in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Oregon has seen more than 200 reports of the mystery illness. Dr. Ganzer claimed her hospital in Colorado has seen close to 30 dogs with the condition since mid-October. She told TODAY that most of the animals had recently been in contact with a large number of other dogs in areas such as daycare or boarding facilities.

Symptoms of the illness include:

  • coughing that lasts for more than a week
  • sneezing
  • nasal or eye discharge
  • lethargy
  • trouble breathing
  • blue or purple gums due to lack of oxygen

Dr. Ganzer encouraged any owners who notice their dogs coughing to take them to the vet immediately. An AL.com report says dog owners should seek medical attention for dogs showing symptoms and make sure dogs are up-to-date on all their vaccines. They also encourage event organizers to have a vet on-site to check dogs for symptoms.

The AMVA reported that the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the Department of Agriculture’s national veterinary lab are working to find the cause of the illness.

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