Officials: Mysterious respiratory illness sickening dogs in other states has reached Pennsylvania

FILE - Owners bring their dogs to a park in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022. Veterinary laboratories in several states, including Oregon, Colorado and New Hampshire, are investigating an unusual respiratory illness in dogs that causes lasting illness and doesn't respond to antibiotics. The Oregon Department of Agriculture, which is working with state researchers and the U.S. Deparment of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratory to find out what is causing the illnesses, has documented more than 200 cases of the disease since mid-August 2023. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

By Patrick Berkery

December 3, 2023

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture confirmed that it has received reports of dogs suffering from symptoms consistent with those experienced by dogs in states such as Oregon, Colorado, and New Hampshire where the respiratory illness was first reported last month.

A mysterious respiratory illness that has been circulating among dogs in at least 15 other states is being reported in Pennsylvania, according to officials.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture confirmed that it has received reports of dogs suffering from coughing, sneezing, nasal or eye discharge, and lethargy — symptoms consistent with those experienced by dogs in states such as Oregon, Colorado, and New Hampshire where the respiratory illness was first reported last month.

The illness reportedly can lead to prolonged respiratory disease and pneumonia and does not respond to antibiotics. Some cases of pneumonia progress quickly, making dogs very sick within 24 to 36 hours, and even leading to death.

It’s been characterized as a mystery illness because its origin is not clear and sick dogs are not testing positive for common causes of canine respiratory illness.

“The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is monitoring this situation, but the best source of information for your pet remains your trusted veterinarian,” Shannon Powers, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s spokesperson, said in a statement.

The Department of Agriculture said it does not know exactly how many cases have been reported and where, but a dog belonging to a family in East Lampeter Township suffered from a prolonged respiratory illness that left him near death a week before Thanksgiving, according to Lancaster Online.

Officials urge dog owners to closely monitor the health of their dogs, make sure they’re up to date on vaccinations, and contact their veterinarians with any questions or treatment recommendations. Further guidance from the Agriculture Department includes the following recommendations:

  • Avoid exposing your dog to unknown dogs, especially in areas where a large number of dogs from different households gather, like dog parks.
  • Avoid exposing your dogs to sick dogs. Keep your dogs away from other dogs showing signs of respiratory illness. If you have to take your dog to a boarding facility or groomer, check to see if they have had any sick dogs recently, and what vaccination requirements they have.
  • Avoid public water bowls and drinking fountains designed for dogs.
  • If you have a sick dog, keep them isolated from other dogs and call your veterinarian as soon as possible, when supportive care may be most effective.

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CATEGORIES: CRIME AND SAFETY

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