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Information regarding the recent "mysterious" and infectious respiratory disease outbreaks in dogs.

Information regarding the recent
November 21, 2023

The recent concerns about the "mysterious" and infectious respiratory disease outbreak in dogs have stimulated a lot of discussion. We want to provide you with as much information as we can at this time. 

Coughing Dogs

We see Kennel Cough somewhat regularly. There are multiple strains of Kennel Cough, the most common one is Bordetella Bronchiseptica. Thankfully, we have a vaccine for that. There has been another strain that is caused by a Mycoplasma bacteria. Unfortunately, there is not a vaccine for it. However, it typically passes within a week with or without antibiotics.

Typical Kennel cough will pass within a couple of weeks. Antibiotics are given to shorten the course of the disease and give the dog relief, quicker. In some cases, they can get secondary pneumonia, which can be much more alarming. That's where antibiotics come in. Young dogs, senior dogs, and brachycephalic dogs are more prone to pneumonia.

Coughing can happen for many reasons. We have to be careful to not assume that a coughing dog has something infectious. A full workup, including an exam, radiographs, and baseline bloodwork may be warranted. Depending on the case, the full workup may be necessary, or simply dispensing medication may be a reasonable treatment option. 

This "mysterious" respiratory condition is problematic, as there are three manifestations.

1. Chronic kennel cough for 6-8 weeks that is minimally or not at all responsive to antibiotics.
2. Chronic pneumonia that is minimally or not responsive to antibiotics.
3.  Acute pneumonia that rapidly becomes severe and can be fatal within 36 hours.

Sadly, we have seen several cases consistent with the chronic cough version. Patients were minimally responsive to antibiotics and infection lasted 6-8 weeks. Based on how the dogs responded, we know that we have been seeing this condition at Q Street Animal Hospital. Unfortunately, we didn't know that they were presenting symptoms of the new mysterious respiratory condition when we first saw them. They just didn't respond like typical kennel cough. One of our own staff member's dogs had it. Though, thankfully, we haven't seen another case (that we know of) in approximately six weeks.

What we know right now:

  • We have seen some of these cases. However, we haven't seen one in over a month.
  • In the cases we have seen, although we didn't suspect the mysterious respiratory disease at first, the pet had coughed for 6-8 weeks despite treatments. It then became apparent that these were the mysterious respiratory disease cases. These patients were eating, drinking, and stable. We had them quarantined at home and monitored for changes in energy levels, eating, drinking, etc. They have all recovered fully.
  • We know that other clinics have experienced more severe, even fatal cases. So, if a pet has been examined and had proper testing, and other causes of coughing have been ruled out in addition to not eating, and drinking, and they’re lethargic. then hospitalization at Q Street Animal Hospital or a critical care facility may be warranted.
  • We have to be careful to not assume that a coughing dog has the mysterious respiratory disease. Therefore, depending on the severity, we may still need to examine and perform diagnostics to rule out other causes of coughing.
  • We may need to examine canine respiratory cases outside, or in the car for a while, for the safety of all of our canine patients. We may do a preliminary health screening of canine patients outside before bringing them into the building. We will keep you posted! Please alert the doctor before bringing canine respiratory cases into the clinic.

The best way to protect your dog

  • Avoid areas with groups of unknown dogs such as a dog park.
  • You should also avoid contact with any dog, you do know, if they are ill or have been recently ill, within two weeks.
  • Make sure your pet is up-to-date on all of their vaccines. Discuss the importance of vaccinations with your pet's veterinarian at their next appointment. 

If you have any questions or need to schedule an appointment for your pet, please give us a call at (541) 746-8491, and one of our Customer Service Representatives will be happy to assist you.