Mysterious Canine Upper Respiratory Illness


We’ve been monitoring the mysterious respiratory illness affecting dogs in various states across the US since the news broke and 14 states have now reported cases. While Virginia is not currently one of those states, we felt it important to update you on what we know about this strange illness and to advise you on how to protect your own dogs.

At this time the upper respiratory infection appears to be highly contagious and while the symptoms are similar to other respiratory illnesses like canine influenza and kennel cough, they are often more severe. The cause has not yet been determined but the symptoms of this respiratory infection include diiculty or rapid breathing, wheezing, dehydration, fever, nasal or eye discharge, weight loss, loss of appetite and lethargy. These symptoms can lead to chronic pneumonia that is barely responsive or entirely unresponsive to antibiotics.

Because respiratory diseases are spread through direct contact or through water droplets from sneezing and coughing, we are advising concerned clients to avoid high risk situations for your dog such as boarding kennels, dog parks, and doggy day care facilities if you are unsure about the health status of other dogs in the environment. Don’t share dog bowls, toys or doggy chews between dogs. Make sure your dog is up to date on their routine yearly vaccinations and in particular, their bordetella (kennel cough) and canine influenza vaccines. We understand the timing is particularly unfortunate with the holiday season fast approaching and many people and pets traveling to visit loved ones.

If you are unsure of your dog’s vaccination status or have any other questions/concerns, please contact us. We will continue to update you as new information becomes available.