Aytpical Canine Respiratory Illness


Aytpical Canine Respiratory Illness

Atypical Canine Respiratory Illness

What is currently happening to dogs in over 14 states is either a flare up of common but severe, known respiratory infections or is a new, likely bacterial disease

Dogs with this illness usually have coughing, sneezing, eye or nose discharge, are abnormally tired, and do not test positive for any common causes of canine respiratory illness

Case Definition

Currently a case definition does not exist for this condition.

Most reports involve dogs with acute respiratory signs that progress rapidly (1-3 days) to severe respiratory illness while others may exhibit mild clinical signs.

What are the big indicators that this disease may be different?
Dogs are not currently testing positive to other known CIRDs (Canine Infectious Respiratory Diseases) such as Bordetella(kennel cough), Canine Influenze, Parainfluenza, Adenovirus, etc.  Typically, dogs with respiratory illnesses have a cough for seven to 10 days, but some vets have seen an uptick in dogs with coughs lasting weeks to months that don't respond to treatment, the Colorado Department of Agriculture said in a Nov. 22 statement.  Many veterinarians in states including Oregon, Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, Washington, Idaho, California and more are seeing dogs with:​

  • Mild to moderate cough for six to eight weeks or longer that either doesn't respond to antibiotics or only responds a little

  • Chronic pneumonia that doesn't respond to antibiotics

  • Severe pneumonia that "often leads to poor outcomes in as little as 24 to 36 hours"


Diagnostic laboratories across the country are analyzing samples from affected dogs to determine whether there is a new pathogen causing respiratory disease in dogs. The currently reported disease is suspected to be transmitted in the same way other respiratory diseases of dogs (e.g. “kennel cough”) are transmitted (close contact, airborne droplets).As with most contagious diseases, animal shelters and kennels are much more likely to be contaminated.  We will likely request radiographs and labwork to rule out commonly treated CIRDs, depending on the severity of any patients presentation.

Treatment of Atypical Respiratory Illness

Treatment is determined by the veterinarian based on the dog’s history, clinical signs, and results of examination and/or lab work and radiographs. Please note that if you do bring your dog to a veterinarian for cough, the staff may wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and bring your dog in to the hospital through a different entrance than usual to help prevent spreading a coughing disease to other dogs.  We are asking owners with these patients  to check in by phone and we will begin care cubside

At this time we recommend that dog owners not worry, but exercise appropriate caution.

  1. Be sure your dog is fully vaccinated. Consult with your veterinarian about vaccines for your dog. Vaccines for respiratory disease include those for “kennel cough”  (also known as Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex) and canine influenza.  It is good to ask that the places where you bring your dog such as parks, kennels, or groomers, require these vaccinations for dogs to participate.

  2. If your dog becomes ill with respiratory signs such as coughing or sneezing, watch closely, keep away from other dogs (i.e. don’t attend day care, etc.), and if your dog is lethargic, not eating, or the cough persists/worsens seek veterinary care.

  3. Don’t let your pet visit sick dogs.

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