Recently, news outlets have been reporting on a new respiratory disease seen in dogs throughout Oregon and a handful of other states. We want to make sure you have the facts as we know them.
In the spring and summer of this year veterinary practices, including Fremont Veterinary Clinic, began seeing dogs with respiratory disease that was atypical in its presentation. In our practice it was characterized by:
(1) A persistent cough that seemed similar to kennel cough but would last for weeks and was unresponsive or minimally responsive to antibiotics.
(2) Pneumonia that did not respond to the more commonly used antibiotics.
*A severe pneumonia that progressed rapidly was also described but not seen in our practice.
We and other practices submitted samples to the Oregon state diagnostic laboratory, but to date no consistent causative agent has been identified. It is worth noting that many viruses that cause respiratory disease in dogs must be tested very early on in the disease process, so the negative results we had does not necessarily mean that the causative agent is new, but rather one of the classic agents that may be “behaving” differently. As summer and fall progressed, the case numbers have diminished, and we are currently seeing the more typical numbers and symptoms of canine respiratory diseases.
Here are some guidelines to reduce your dogs’ risk of respiratory disease:
-Minimize contact with other dogs whenever possible. Common higher risk situations include dog parks, day care, boarding facilities, groomers, and other establishments that are dog friendly. Older dogs and those that are immunocompromised, seem to be at higher risk and may need to avoid these environments if another surge in cases occurs.
-Stay in touch with boarding, day care and grooming facilities regarding cases of respiratory disease. The boarding and daycare facilities that we worked with this past year did a great job of monitoring for signs of respiratory ailment and acted quickly if there were dogs that showed signs. When we last spoke with a local boarding facility, they reported no uptick in respiratory diseases.
-Finally, keep your canine companion up to date on their vaccines, especially Distemper, Bordetella, Parainfluenza and Canine Influenza (bivalent). If your canine friend has symptoms such as cough, runny nose or lethargy, call us right away for an appointment and avoid contact with other dogs where practical.
Multiple agencies including the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic lab, the Oregon State Veterinarian and the Oregon and US Departments of Agriculture are working in concert to identify the agent responsible for this outbreak so that we can then better inform you about what the cause is and specific preventative measures that can be taken. As we learn more, we will keep you updated.
The Doctors at Fremont Veterinary Clinic.