US vets warn of fast-spreading canine respiratory diseases

Veterinarians across the country have seen an increase in infectious respiratory diseases among our canine friends. With reports ranging from canine flu outbreaks to infectious respiratory bacteria, vets urge you to exercise caution with your beloved companions.

Dogs present with sniffles and sneezes at an unusually high rate over the past few months. Summer often brings a slight increase in canine infectious diseases, but this season seems to be a little different. From July to now, numerous cases of infectious respiratory diseases in dogs have been reported.

On September 16, Dr. Julio Lopez of the Encino Veterinary Center warned local viewers of a serious canine flu (H3N2 virus) outbreak in the Los Angeles area. According to the Ministry of Health, this is the largest canine flu epidemic on record.

Across the country, Dr. Angela Lusty of Michigan’s Pierson Veterinary Hospital shared her experience battling another form of infectious respiratory disease. These puppies have the same respiratory symptoms as their California friends, but Mycoplasma bacteria are thought to be the cause.

canine flu

Other states that have reported their own canine respiratory outbreaks include Texas, Ohio, Wyoming, and North Carolina, which shows just how widespread this problem has become.

Some of the many symptoms that seem to affect canine patients include sneezing, coughing, runny nose, conjunctivitis, fever, and decreased appetite. Some of these puppies even developed secondary pneumonia in severe cases, proving that canine respiratory disease is not to be taken lightly.

Many believe that kennel cough is the only factor behind puppy coughing in the world, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. There is an array of viruses and bacteria our dogs can be exposed to, many of which can adhere to surfaces our puppies come into frequent contact with.

Veterinarians say typical hot spots responsible for most outbreaks include dog parks, boarding schools, dog daycares and animal shelters. Some of these pathogens are believed to cling to contaminated surfaces for hours, leaving an important window for the spread of infection.

canine flu

If your dog is a social puppy who appreciates any of the potential hot spots listed above, there are a number of ways you can help keep them safe. First, talk to your vet about their experience with any disease endemic to your area. If there appears to be an increase in circulating illnesses, it may be best to avoid public places until things calm down.

Next, we suggest that you speak with your vet about any vaccines you can offer to protect your puppy from circulating diseases such as the bacteria that cause kennel cough and the virus that causes certain strains of canine flu.

The most important tip for keeping your puppy safe is to avoid dogs that show signs of illness. You should also keep your puppy away from other furry friends for at least 14 days if they have respiratory symptoms, as you never want to contribute to the spread in your area.

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