MYSTERIOUS CANINE RESPIRATORY ILLNESS

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Canine Respitory Illness

OCHD OFFERS TIPS TO KEEP YOUR PET SAFE

A possible increase in upper respiratory illness in dogs (canine infectious respiratory disease complex [CIRDC]) has been reported from multiple locations across the United States in the second half of 2023.
It is not known whether this is ONE outbreak with ONE single pathogen or multiple agents and multiple outbreaks.
It is not known whether this is a virus or bacteria.
This may ultimately be a diagnosis of exclusion, as early data indicates that many of these patients are not testing positive for the virus/bacteria we test most often for.
It is the respiratory season for both humans and dogs, and there is no need to panic as we always see an uptick in respiratory infections this time of year.
It is highly unlikely that whatever is affecting dogs will also make humans sick and vice versa.
Here’s what dog owners can do:
Relax. It seems like there’s more respiratory disease in dogs in some areas, but that’s something veterinarians often see. Serious disease is being reported in a small subset of infected dogs, but that’s also something they regularly see. So, being aware is good, being anxious is bad.
The vast majority of dogs that get CIRDC recover uneventfully. That’s as true now as it was a year or 10 years ago. However, severe disease can occur so we don’t want to be too dismissive.
Recommendations:
Limit contact with new dogs at dog parks, doggy day cares or boarding facilities.
Dog owners should help keep their pets healthy by making sure they’re up-to-date on all vaccines, such as those for canine influenza, Bordetella and parainfluenza.
Reducing contact with sick dogs. This can be harder to determine but if a dog looks sick (coughing, runny nose, runny eyes), keep your dog away from it.
Keep sick dogs at home and seek veterinary care.
Avoid communal water bowls shared by multiple dogs.
If the following signs are present, a prompt visit to the veterinary clinic is indicated:
Weakness, severe depression (meaning the dog is really quiet, not engaged and just lies around, doesn’t get up when you’d expect it too (like for food))
Loss of appetite
Difficulty breathing (breathing faster and harder even when not exercising)
Rapid worsening of illness
Cough that is causing significant problems such as vomiting or making it hard for the dog to breathe
It’s especially important to see the veterinarian if these signs occur in a high-risk dog, including:
Elderly
Very young
Pregnant
Immunocompromised (by disease or treatment)
Underlying heart or respiratory tract disease
Brachycephalic (i.e. squishy-faced) breeds
As with any emerging issue, the current situation in the US is fluid, and we’re trying to sort out more about what’s happening. At the moment, for your average dog owner, it’s still just a matter of some common sense precautions and good dog care.
*Additional info provided by Worms & Germs Blog