A mysterious disease is spreading to dogs in the United States. According to CBSHundreds of pets in more than 10 states have been infected with the deadly respiratory disease. The Oregon Department of Agriculture said in a news release that the mysterious illness was described as a “peculiar canine infectious respiratory disease.”
In Oregon alone, veterinarians have reported more than 200 cases since mid-August. Other cases have been reported in Colorado, Illinois and New Hampshire.
“Based on the epidemiology of the diseases reported at this point, the cases share a viral etiology, but common respiratory diagnostic testing is often negative,” Oregon State Veterinarian Dr. Ryan Scholes told the American Veterinary Medical Association.
A pathologist at the New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and an associate professor of medicine at the University of New Hampshire, Dr. David B. Needle said. CNN Dogs with a mysterious disease show similar symptoms of upper respiratory disease, but are not positive for common respiratory diseases.
“The vast majority of syndromes we investigate do not appear to be fatal, and rare animals develop severe and sometimes fatal pneumonia after a long chronic illness,” Dr. Needle told the media. “We think these may indicate secondary infections.”
“If what we identified is a pathogen, the bacteria with long histories of colonizing dogs may be host-adapted bacteria,” Dr Needle said. An “evolutionary event” such as spontaneous mutation or the acquisition of a gene from another source may have later led the bacteria to become a virus, he said.
Dog owners can take steps to keep their pets healthy.
The Oregon Veterinary Medical Association’s website states, “Canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC) can occur periodically in a population of dogs. At least nine different bacteria and viruses have been linked as causes of CIRDC, which is spread by respiratory droplets.”
“Infection with more than one bacterial or viral agent is common. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, nasal and/or eye discharge, and lethargy. If your dog shows these symptoms, contact your veterinarian,” the association said.
Steps to take to keep dogs healthy:
– Minimize contact with large numbers of unknown dogs.
– Minimize contact with sick dogs. If a dog seems sick, it’s best to keep your dog away.
– Avoid public water bowls
– Keep sick dogs at home and take them to the vet.