Novel Respiratory Illness in Dogs

Nov 22, 2023

Airvet’s Veterinary Telehealth Manager, Dr. Cariann Turbeville, would like to raise awareness of a new respiratory illness that has been affecting dogs in some areas of the United States. 

Background: First reported in August 2023, there has been an increase in incidents of dogs that have developed a range of respiratory symptoms that do not respond to typical treatments. Most of the affected dogs had contact in group settings where there is a higher concentration of dogs present such as boarding kennels and dog parks. Cases of this respiratory illness have been reported in at least four states including Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon and Rhode Island, but experts suspect that the illness is much more widespread.

Symptoms: The illness may involve a mild to moderate cough that lasts 6 or more weeks or pneumonia that does not respond to antibiotics. Some dogs who were diagnosed with pneumonia have declined in as little as 24 hours. The cause of the illness is still under investigation. So far, there have been no reports of this illness affecting humans or other species, however all dogs who contact others are potentially at-risk.

Next Steps: Until the disease is better understood, make sure your dog is fully vaccinated and avoid contact with dogs from outside your household, especially if there are reports of the illness in your area. This is especially important to remember this holiday season when people will be traveling and/or hosting other pets. If your dog develops a severe cough, call your local veterinarian for an exam immediately. Your vet might instruct you to avoid bringing your dog into the main lobby, and into a more isolated area in which to examine them. They might need to perform chest x-rays, and specific tests as they become available.

For more information, refer to the AVMA’s website.

Other questions? Feel free to hop onto the Airvet app and connect with a vet care professional for more help.