EAST SIDE, Manhattan (PIX11) — Dogs in at least ten states have been coming down with a mysterious and potentially fatal respiratory illness.
The mysterious respiratory illness in dogs has not yet reached the New York area. Still, veterinarians like Dr. Carly Fox from the Schwarzman Animal Medical Center in Manhattan say it’s only a matter of time, particularly now during the holidays, with so many people traveling with their dogs.
The mystery of respiratory illness in dogs has been seen in Oregon, Colorado, New Hampshire, and other states.
And so far, the illness is not responding to antibiotics. Some cases of pneumonia can progress quickly, making dogs very sick within 24 to 36 hours.
“I think people should be mildly worried,“ Dr. Carly Fox, senior veterinarian at Schwarzman Animal Medical Center, told PIX11 News. “At this point, we need to start paying more attention. It’s not that prevalent in New York yet,” she added.
Among the signs of this mysterious illness in dogs, according to Fox, is a persistent cough, nasal discharge, discharge from the eyes, lethargy and fever. Precautions Fox urges for all dog owners to take:
- Avoid traveling to the West Coast with your dog if possible
- Check that you’re up-to-date on vaccines for your pooch
- Avoid dog parks, boarding your dog and all close interactions with other dogs
- Seek vet care at the first sign of respiratory illness
All this is news to lots of dog owners.
“I had no idea,” Steve Corrick, an owner of two dogs, Honey and Freddie, told PiX11 News.
“I wasn’t going to travel with my dogs any time soon, but if I were, I would avoid the West Coast,” he added.
Labs across the country have been sharing their findings as they try to pinpoint the culprit.
David Needle, senior veterinary pathologist at the University of New Hampshire’s New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, has been investigating the mysterious disease for almost a year.
His lab and colleagues at the university’s Hubbard Center for Genome Research have looked at samples from dogs in Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Massachusetts and more will be coming from Oregon, Colorado and possibly other states.
He said his team has not seen a large increase in dogs dying from the illness but still encouraged pet owners to “decrease contact with other dogs.”
The Associated Press’ Devi Shastri contributed to this story.