In the past couple of weeks, a flurry of media reports have been presented regarding a novel respiratory infection afflicting dogs. The reports have come from a variety of areas in the US and Canada and, as of yet, no new or old pathogen has been identified.
There have been speculative reports about a bacteria in the mycoplasma family being isolated, some suggest viruses, and other competent authorities have suggested that the publicized cases may be caused by “old” agents long known to veterinary medicine, and the “outbreak” is a function of zealous media coverage.
As more concrete facts come to light, we will eagerly share them with you.
What are best practices for now?
We would recommend these things.
- Limit your dog’s contacts, especially short term contacts with dogs of unknown health status. Boarding, daycare, and dog parks would be considered higher risk activities for picking up a respiratory infection.
- Keep your dog away from sick dogs
- If your dog is sick, keep it away from other dogs. If your dog is coughing, lethargic, or seems feverish, schedule an exam to have him/her checked.
- Make sure your dog is current with his/her Bordetella and parainfluenza vaccinations and if not, update that. Also consider getting the influenza vaccine if your dog is likely to engage in higher risk activities.
Finally, it should be pointed out that most reports indicate that the overwhelming majority of dogs eventually recover, albeit a bit slower that we usually expect when treating an upper respiratory infection, and severe illness is rare.