By now you may have heard about a new “dog pneumonia” outbreak in Oregon. While this news can sound scary, experts are telling dog owners not to panic! As a veterinary hospital that serves Portland, Beaverton, and surrounding areas, we want to make sure pet owners have the information they need to safeguard their dogs’ health. Here’s everything you need to know about this infectious disease and some precautions you can take to protect your pups.
What We Know
In September, the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) announced that the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) was investigating reports of “atypical canine infectious respiratory disease.” This disease is considered atypical, or not usual, because the infection is caused by different bacteria or viruses than the more common ones.
There are at least nine different bacteria and viruses that are known to cause Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC). Currently, a team of pathologists and virologists is working to figure out what virus or bacteria causes this particular canine infectious respiratory disease.
Where Are Cases Being Reported?
A heat map of these reported cases shows that Portland, Salem, Corvallis, and Eugene have reported the most cases of this atypical canine infectious respiratory disease. There are also some pockets of reported cases closer to the coast.
How Does It Spread?
Much like canine influenza (dog flu) and kennel cough, this atypical canine respiratory infection spreads through respiratory droplets. In other words, infectious dogs transmit the pathogens when they cough, sneeze, or have nose-to-nose contact with other dogs.
What Are The Symptoms?
In general, it seems like these cases fall into one of three clinical syndromes:
The ODA is currently focusing on how to diagnose cases that lead to acute pneumonia. When we understand the underlying cause and know how to diagnose these cases early, we can provide better treatments that hopefully lead to better outcomes.
Should Dog Owners Be Worried?
Currently, the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association is encouraging dog owners to be cautious rather than worried! They also outline a few ways that dog owners can protect their pets from respiratory illness. These include:
While not much is currently known about what causes this infectious disease, ODA is working with pathologists and virologists to figure out the best way to diagnose and treat these patients. If your dog is showing symptoms of a respiratory illness, please give us a call so we can get them seen! We’ll provide updates and more information as it becomes available.