Hundreds of Dogs Sickened With Mysterious, Potentially Fatal Illness in Several U.S. States

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PHOTO: AMR IMAGE / GETTY

Veterinary laboratories across multiple states are investigating an unusual respiratory illness affecting dogs, urging pet owners to take essential precautions to safeguard their pets’ health. Oregon, Colorado, and New Hampshire have reported cases of the illness, characterized by persistent respiratory disease and pneumonia resistant to antibiotics. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, nasal or eye discharge, and lethargy. Some instances progress rapidly, causing severe illness within 24 to 36 hours.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture has recorded over 200 cases since mid-August, and are urging pet owners to consult veterinarians if their dogs exhibit symptoms. The department is collaborating with state researchers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory to identify the cause.

According to Kurt Williams, director of the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Oregon State University, some dogs have succumbed to the illness. However, due to the absence of a clear definition or test for the disease, determining the exact number of fatalities is challenging. Williams advises dog owners not to panic and emphasizes the importance of ensuring pets are up to date on vaccinations, including those guarding against respiratory illnesses.

Laboratories nationwide are sharing findings in a collaborative effort to identify the cause.

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