A potentially fatal mystery illness in dogs is spreading in the US. It starts with a cough

Cases have been reported in Oregon, Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, Washington, Idaho, California, the Northeast and more.

TODAY – A mysterious and potentially fatal respiratory illness in dogs has been reported in several states across the country, as veterinarians continue to search for what may be causing the condition that has killed some dogs.

The illness starts out as a cough that can last for several weeks, but it may not respond to antibiotics, which can leave the dog struggling to breathe and with severe pneumonia.

Dr. Lindsey Ganzer, veterinarian and CEO at North Springs Veterinary Referral Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, tells TODAY.com:

“It seems to happen very, very quickly — to go from this cough that’s just won’t go away … and then all of a sudden they develop this pneumonia.”

Ganzer estimates her hospital has seen close to 30 dogs with the condition since the middle of October.

“Dogs are most likely to contract the infection by being in close contact with numerous other dogs — so places like day care, dog parks, groomers or boarding kennels, Ganzer explains.”

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She adds that cases are “really not slowing down,” with two to three coming in a day, most requiring hospitalization. She says four to five of the dogs her hospital has seen have died due to the illness, but they arrived already in respiratory distress with pneumonia.

It’s not a time for dog owners to “become paralyzed with fear,” Dr. Kurt Williams, director of Oregon Veterinary Diagnostics Lab, who’s been researching the illness for the past month and a half, tells TODAY.com.

“I think concern is fine,” he says, adding that dog owners may want to consider taking precautions to prevent illness, such as avoiding scenarios with other dogs and making sure dogs are up to date on vaccinations, especially against respiratory diseases …


Dog Flu Knows No Boundaries


  • Dogs have no natural immunity to Dog Flu because it’s a newer virus.
  • This virus is easily spread by dogs who move around a lot, like rescue dogs or ones that travel and move with their owners. This is how Dog Flu has spread from state to state.
  • Many dogs are boarded, go to daycare, or visit groomers where close contact to other dogs puts them at high risk. READ MORE. 
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