Recent Canine Respiratory Illness Outbreak

We’ve had multiple questions regarding the recent Canine Respiratory Illness that is making headlines in the media. Various veterinary clinics have reported an increase in cases of canine respiratory illness in some states, ranging from mild upper respiratory signs to severe pneumonia. While the specific cause is currently unknown, diagnostic testing is underway.

We recommend exercising caution over fear when it comes to this suspected new illness. As with any contagious illness, we recommend all dog owners ensure pets are current on respiratory disease vaccines, up to date on their annual physical, and  have limited exposure to other dogs. If your dog is exhibiting symptoms such as excessive coughing, labored breathing, significant lethargy, or loss of appetite, contact us at Peninsula Pet Hospital for an appointment. If we are unable to facilitate an appointment promptly due to an increased patient load, please bring your pet into a local urgent care facility like Sage Redwood City or MedVet Mountain View

As a way to protect Peninsula Pet Hospital from this disease we are asking that all dogs who are brought in for suspected respiratory disease remain in your vehicle and are not brought into the waiting room. All physical exams for dogs with suspected respiratory illnesses will be conducted outside of the hospital in the parking lot, patients with respiratory disease that require isolated hospitalization will be referred to local specialty hospitals for continued care. 

What is the canine respiratory disease that is making news?+

The disease is atypical CIRDC, or atypical Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex. Unlike typical CIRDC, this reported respiratory disease may not respond to standard treatment and patients affected by it are mainly treated with supportive care. The dogs affected can typically recuperate from the respiratory illness on their own with supportive care but in severe cases may need hospitalization.

What are the symptoms? +

Coughing, fever, lethargy, decreased appetite, labored breathing, and discharge from the eyes or nose.

Should I be worried about my dog? +

We suggest caution rather than worry. The number of cases reported represents a very small percentage of the overall dog population. Periodic outbreaks of respiratory illness can regularly occur in any dog population. Right now, we don’t know the true extent of illness or deaths because we don’t have sufficient data as the symptoms overlap with other causes of lung disease, and the presumed infectious agent (or agents) driving disease remains unknown. Exercise caution and always monitor your dog for signs of illness. If you notice coughing, it is best to have them evaluated to determine if the signs are consistent with aCIRD and rule out other causes such as cardiac disease, etc. Always ensure your dog is up to date with their annual physical exam to ensure they are healthy, as dogs with comorbidities (unnoticed underlying diseases) are more susceptible to contagious illnesses.

What precautions should I take? I’m going away for the holidays, what should I do with my dog?+

With the holidays approaching, consider keeping your pet with a private pet sitter (you can find pet sitters in your area via Rover.com or Wagwalking.com) rather than taking your pet to facilities with high concentration of dogs, such as boarding or doggy day care. Consider private mobile grooming rather than visiting typical high pet concentration grooming facilities. Avoid highly populated areas with exposure to other unknown dogs: pet stores, dog parks ect. Socialization is important for your dog, so you might consider creating a small playgroup of known dogs that are also vaccinated and healthy. If your dog is sick, it is important to isolate them from others to avoid further exposure. Avoid communal water bowls and toys.

What do I do if I suspect my dog has this disease? +

Contact us at Peninsula Pet Hospital for an evaluation of your pet. If you are unable to get an appointment promptly due to our increased patient load, please contact a local emergency service, especially if you are concerned about respiratory difficulty, progressive cough, and other signs of illness.

Is there a vaccine for this disease?+

No, not specifically for atypical CIRD. However, it is best to be up to date with the canine flu vaccine and kennel cough (Bordetella). Bordetella is one of the pathogens that is under the umbrella term for Kennel Cough/typical CIRD.

Can this be transferred to me or other animals?+

This is a contagious disease among dogs. At this time, it is not known to be transmissible to humans or other species.
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