A mysterious disease is affecting dogs in the United States. So far, it has been detected in 14 states, but veterinarians fear this is just the beginning. Puppies, older dogs and those with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk. Cough that affects animals – can lead to severe pneumonia and even death.
This mysterious respiratory disease has been linked to dozens of dog deaths. In recent months, an unknown pathogen has been attacking pets in the United States, in extreme cases even causing their death. “What we’re seeing is a respiratory disease, so there’s fever, malaise, something that looks like kennel cough,” explains Kevin Snekvik, director of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. Veterinarians describe this yet unknown disease as similar to potentially dangerous kennel cough – just like in that case, fever, cough, sneezing and apathy occur here. The symptoms do not subside even after administration of antibiotics. They may develop into pneumonia and last for several weeks. – This disease is spreading throughout the United States. Its course is really long, from four to even six weeks – adds Dr. Rena Carlson from the American Veterinary Medical Association. – Sometimes hospitalization is necessary to give the dog medications in the form of injections. Especially if he develops secondary pneumonia, says Dr. Matthew Goss, a veterinarian in Los Angeles.
The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that cases have already been reported in 14 different states – including California, Colorado, Florida and Washington. In some cases, the course is very rapid – pneumonia develops even within 24 hours. Puppies, senior dogs and animals with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk. American laboratories are now racing to isolate the pathogen responsible for the disease. – I would advise owners to vaccinate their dogs against known pathogens, then there is a greater chance that the animal’s body will be able to cope with new ones more easily – appeals Dr. Rena Carlson from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
For now, veterinarians are calling for calm, but also for caution. As with any infectious disease, they recommend avoiding dog gatherings. They also appeal to limit traveling with pets, especially during Christmas. – My dog has a lot of energy, so maybe longer walks would be a better solution than taking him to dog parks. At least until more is known about this disease, admits Emma Green, a dog owner from Seattle.
However, not everyone wants to limit their pets’ activity and socialization with other dogs. They trust that regular vaccinations will be enough. – I’m not that afraid. I try to make sure all the dogs I walk are vaccinated, says Jon Finck, a pet sitter. – For now, I’m not changing anything, I’m not implementing any measures. I just pray that my dog doesn’t get sick, adds Jonah Teitelbaum, a dog owner from Los Angeles.
At this moment, it is impossible to determine the exact number of cases nationwide. But the state of Oregon alone has had at least 200. – We’ve probably had 5 to 10 cases of this disease over the last few months. We don’t know exactly what it is or where it comes from, but the clinical symptoms resemble kennel cough. So there is a cough, apathy. Sometimes we observe foamy saliva, fatigue, decreased appetite, says Dr. Matthew Goss.
So far, there is no indication that the disease can be transmitted to humans.
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Main photo source: Reuters