Vets puzzled by new, mysterious and sometimes fatal respiratory illness making dogs sick all over the U.S.
11/22/2023 // Olivia Cook // Views

Veterinarians all over the United States are investigating an unusual respiratory illness that's making dogs sick. These same doctors warn that this long-lasting illness is not responding well to antibiotics.

Veterinarian Dr. Amanda Cavanagh, section head for the Small Animal Emergency Service center at the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, noted that more and more dogs are coming into veterinary emergency rooms for coughs.

Dr. Lindsey Ganzer, the owner of North Springs Veterinary Referral Center in Colorado, has reported that her animal hospital alone has already seen at least 30 cases of this mysterious new illness.

While research on the symptoms is still ongoing, vets are saying that most reported symptoms are similar to those of a typical kennel cough and include coughing, sneezing, nasal and eye discharge.

Some dogs are able to remain vibrant and active throughout their illness, while others present with symptoms of lethargy and a lack of appetite. In more severe cases, the dogs become critically ill, with their conditions escalating rapidly and leading to pneumonia within 24 to 36 hours of the first symptoms appearing. Many dogs have already passed away due to the mystery illness. (Related: Veterinarians: Dogs are getting sick from discarded weed.)

At least 10 states have recorded cases of the mystery respiratory illness

The mysterious illness was first reported in Oregon back in August, and the Oregon Department of Agriculture has already received over a hundred written reports from vets regarding the illness.

From Oregon, cases eventually spread out to much of the American West, with the San Diego Humane Society being forced to temporarily pause intake of owner-surrendered dogs until December to help prevent the spread of the mysterious disease.

"He's never been sick a day in his life," said Wendy Brown, a dog owner in Idaho. Brown added that her three golden retrievers each started showing symptoms earlier this month.

"Dooley started doing kind of this huffing and also seemed to feel quite lethargic," she described. "Not too long after, Bridge began to exhibit the symptoms. But he and his were louder, more boisterous. It was like, I thought it was his stomach because he made a retching sound."

Like many dog owners, Brown believed her dogs were coming down with a typical kennel cough. But when the symptoms didn't go away with standard treatment, she knew it was something more serious.

"The vet started him [Dooley] on a 10-day cycle of doxycycline," she said. "Today was day 10 and he is not a lot better. So, quite a bit of concern for us there."

As of press time, 10 states have confirmed receiving dogs with cases of the mysterious outbreak: California, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, New Hampshire, Oregon and Washington.

In Oregon alone, over 200 cases have already been reported since mid-August. Several dogs in the state have already died, while many more are still struggling to get the mystery illness out of their systems.

Watch the following video to learn about a local vet's advice on how to avoid the mysterious illness that is sickening dogs.

This video is from the Daily Videos channel on

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Canadian company vows to produce 9,000 tons of crickets each year for "human and pet consumption."

Your dog needs some face time with the pack: Study on canine health reveals playtime helps reduce long-term stress levels.

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