Unraveling the Mystery of the Infectious Respiratory Disease in Dogs

Unraveling the Mystery of the Infectious Respiratory Disease in Dogs

From coast to coast, researchers are on a mission to unravel the mystery behind an infectious respiratory disease that is affecting dogs across the United States. The illness, referred to as “atypical canine infectious respiratory disease,” has even resulted in rare cases of death.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture issued a news release on November 9, describing the illness and its symptoms. Dogs with the disease exhibit signs such as coughing, sneezing, eye or nose discharge, and lethargy. Since mid-August, over 200 cases have been reported in Oregon alone. Other cases have been documented in Colorado, Illinois, and New Hampshire.

Experts believe that the disease is likely caused by a viral pathogen due to its epidemiology. However, standard respiratory diagnostic testing has yielded mostly negative results. Additionally, the disease shows resistance to typical treatment methods. Dr. David B. Needle, a pathologist at the New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, explains that although fatalities are rare, some animals develop acute and occasionally fatal pneumonia after experiencing a more extended chronic illness, possibly due to secondary infections.

The origins of this mysterious disease remain unknown. Researchers, including Dr. Needle, are gathering samples from veterinary clinics across different states to identify the disease and search for common DNA segments. There is a possibility that the bacteria responsible for the illness adapted to dogs over time, either through spontaneous mutation or acquiring genes from different sources.

The Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory has also reported cases of a similar canine disease. While the disease’s cause is still not determined, canine owners are advised to remain cautious rather than worried. Regular outbreaks of Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC) can occur in dog populations, with multiple bacteria and viruses identified as potential causes. Dog owners should ensure their pets are up-to-date on all necessary vaccinations and take precautions to minimize exposure to unknown and ill dogs.


Q: Where did the disease come from?

A: Researchers are currently investigating the origins of the disease by collecting samples from veterinary clinics across multiple states to identify the specific pathogen responsible.

Q: What can dog owners do to protect their pets?

A: Dog owners should ensure their pets are vaccinated against canine influenza, Bordetella, and parainfluenza. It is also recommended to limit contact with large groups of unknown dogs, keep sick dogs at home, and avoid communal water bowls shared by multiple dogs.


– Oregon Department of Agriculture: (URL)
– New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory: (URL)
– Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory: (URL)
– Oregon Veterinary Medical Association: (URL)

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