“Mystery” Respiratory Illness and Your Dog

Canine Respiratory Disease: Do’s and Don’ts

Many of you have probably heard the recent news stories about a “mystery” illness that has been affecting dogs in several states within the past few months. As of 24 November 2023, we have not heard of any confirmed cases in Nebraska.

Symptoms of the illness are similar to those of “kennel cough” or canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC) and have included coughing, sneezing, eye and nose discharge, lethargy, decreased appetite, and fever. Some dogs have also developed secondary bacterial infections and pneumonia, and unfortunately the illness has been fatal in some cases.

What Do We Know?

There is much that is unknown right now, but the illness appears to be a “variant of canine infectious respiratory disease complex that is lasting longer” than usual.
Vets and researchers are not certain yet how the illness is transmitted, but it does appear to be contagious between dogs. What’s the best thing you can do for your dog right now? Take preventative action!

Because of the broad spectrum of potential respiratory diseases, there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation, and working with a veterinarian is the best way to ensure that owners have accurate information that is appropriate for their situation. – Oregon Department of Agriculture

What Should You Do For Your Dog?

  1. Make sure your dog is up to date on its vaccinations. While existing vaccines may not specifically target this unknown infection, maintaining overall health through routine vaccinations can help support a dog’s immune system in combating various infections. This is especially important for puppies and for senior dogs that may already have immunocompromising conditions.
  2. Avoid places where multiple dogs are likely to gather, including dog parks, doggy day-cares, dog “bars,” etc. Don’t let your dog drink from communal water or food bowls. If your dog must visit a grooming salon or kennel, make sure vaccines are updated at least two weeks in advance whenever possible.
  3. If your dog develops new respiratory symptoms, contact us ASAP – especially if the dog loses its appetite, has trouble breathing, is coughing continuously, or is extremely lethargic. If your pet has an appointment with us due to a cough or other upper respiratory symptoms, please call us upon arrival so that we can be sure to take you and your dog directly into an exam room.
  4. Keep sick pets at home, and confine potty breaks to your own yard. Follow your veterinarian’s advice with treatments and home care, and be sure to give any prescribed medications as directed. And if you have ANY questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us by phone, text, or email!

For additional information, please visit the following pages:

We will post any updates to the ongoing research into this illness on our Facebook page.
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