Dog Epidemic: In The United States, A Mysterious Disease Is Spreading Among Dogs ​

Since November, an unknown respiratory disease has been affecting dogs across the Atlantic in waves, causing cough, fever and even death. While veterinarians are encouraged to report these cases, laboratories are working to identify the causes of this infection.

From Oregon to California, via Florida, a mysterious respiratory disease is spreading and contaminating dogs throughout the United States since the beginning of November. Cases have already been reported in at least 14 states, notes The American Veterinary Medical Association. Researchers are scrambling to try to determine whether this disease – which can be fatal – is viral or bacterial, and whether it could be a variant of kennel cough, one of the most common illnesses in the dog.

The symptoms identified, which can last four to six weeks, include coughing, sneezing and profound lethargy. Some acute cases even quickly transformed into pneumonia within the next 24 to 36 hours, reports the association. Veterinarians also tell the New York Times that this pathology could lead to deaths in older dogs suffering from health problems. Specialists say they are all the more concerned about this disease as it occurs as the Christmas holidays approach, a time of year when animals are required to travel with their families. Journeys which could multiply cases across the territory.

Increasing cases

+ In a statement, the Oregon Department of Agriculture describes this mysterious illness as an “atypical canine infectious respiratory disease.” Since mid-August, veterinarians in this north-western coastal state have reported more than 200 cases. California veterinarians have also detected this disease, with already more than 10 reports since November 16. Michael Lappin, a Colorado veterinarian interviewed by NBC News, revealed that the number of cases of canine pneumonia in the state increased by 50% between September and November 2023, compared to 2022.

According to veterinarians interviewed by the New York Times, the Covid-19 pandemic could be one possible explanation. Prolonged confinements have reportedly deprived many dogs of immunity against bacteria and viruses. “Since the pandemic, we have seen cases of respiratory diseases in dogs that spread easily,” explains Deborah Silverstein, veterinarian at the University of Pennsylvania. She particularly warns owners of pugs and French and English bulldogs, which according to her are canine species more prone to such respiratory infections.

The president of the American Veterinary Association, Rena Carlson, recommended that owners ensure that their dogs' vaccinations are up to date, and consult as soon as the first symptoms appear. "We couldn't say whether the illness can spread to different species, whether people or cats. We are checking this intently," she likewise added “The infection patterns currently observe

do not correspond to the emergence of a new highly transmissible pathogen,” finally informs the veterinarian, who explains instead that a combination of ordinary viruses and bacteria would be at work.

 Vaccines and isolation as solutions

This disease, which has not yet been formally identified, also seems more common in dogs who have recently spent time with other dogs, for example in kennels, shelters or parks. Faced with a worrying wave of cases, the American federal government has also decided to tackle the problem head on. A spokesperson for the US Department of Agriculture's Health Inspection Service told CNN that it was working with local agencies and laboratories across the country to identify the mysterious disorder.

"I would agree on that if your dog is giving indications of respiratory sickness, detach him at home," prompted Dr. Stephen Kochis, an animal shelter member in Oregon.

Post a Comment