What is the “Mystery Respiratory Illness in Dogs”?

Veterinarians across the country have seen a recent increase in respiratory illness in dogs that is atypical of the normal respiratory illnesses that are seen. This blog will discuss mystery respiratory dog illness and some of the signs to be looking for.

In late June, a case was first identified in New Hampshire that mimicked common kennel cough, but then later progressed to pneumonia. Cases continued to spread across the country and the illness has now been reported in 16 states. The reported cases have not responded to normal treatment protocols and dogs are experiencing more severe symptoms as well as much longer recovery times. The etiology of this particular respiratory illness is still unknown.

What is being done?

Researchers as well as veterinary medical schools are working together to quickly identify what is causing this respiratory outbreak and help find the best treatment protocols.

What are the symptoms of the mystery respiratory illness?

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Labored breathing
  • Discharge from the nose and eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite

What should owners do?

While experts report that owners should have heightened awareness regarding the symptoms of the respiratory illness, it is important that owners DO NOT PANIC. Most dogs who have been diagnosed with the respiratory illness have recently attended doggy daycare or boarded in a kennel. Given the risk associated with the aforementioned activities, it is advised that owners consider placing a hold on these activities for the time being. It is also advised that owners keep their dog’s vaccinations current, especially those that provide protection against influenza (commonly called Bivalent Influenza vaccine), kennel cough (Bordatella) and Parainfluenza (the combination Distemper vaccine).

What is Highland Veterinary Hospital doing?

Everyone at Highland is committed to keeping all of our patients happy and healthy. We continue to thoroughly clean and disinfect all patient areas, and try our best to minimize contact between sick and well patient visits. In addition, we utilize our back door to receive patients who have symptoms of any respiratory illness and ask for your help in alerting us of those symptoms. When you have questions, we’re here to answer them for you and can be reached by phone at 301-854-3372 or email.


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