In August of 2023 the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) started receiving reports of an “atypical canine infectious respiratory disease” in Portland and other Oregon counties. Veterinarians statewide began testing and studying the disease which appears to be of viral origin and presents in three general ways. Some patients exhibit chronic mild to moderate tracheobronchitis (6-8 weeks or longer) while other patients have exhibited chronic pneumonia, both presentations are minimally or not responsive to antibiotics. There have also been some patients who have developed acute pneumonia that rapidly worsens in as little as 24-48 hours and can be severe or even fatal.
The ODA, USDA and veterinarians are working together to sample respiratory cases using PCR and other technology to identify and learn about the disease. Symptoms are like other respiratory diseases – please call for an exam appointment if your dog is experiencing coughing, sneezing, nasal/eye discharge, or lethargy. Not all dogs exhibiting symptoms are assumed to have this disease, as there are still kennel cough (Bordetella), canine influenza, etc. outbreaks that may or may not indicate treatment, but please speak with your veterinarian if you are at all concerned.
There have been similar outbreaks of various Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complexes (CIRDCs) in the past caused by a variety of bacteria and viruses. These diseases are transmitted by respiratory droplets and both bacteria and viruses can cause CIRDC. Currently the veterinary community is encouraging the public to use caution but not panic – avoid places where there is a high concentration of dogs such as the dog park, do not let your dog interact with other pets on walks, keep them up to date on all vaccinations, but they can still socialize with other healthy fully-vaccinated dogs in protected environments (such as a backyard). Dogs are the only species affected and patients that are elderly, immune-compromised, or have respiratory issues are at a higher risk of complications from CIRDC. We encourage our clients to monitor their dogs closely, use reliable sources such as veterinary associations and veterinary schools to stay educated, and call us with any questions or to schedule an exam if concerned.
Oregon Veterinary Medical Association: https://www.oregonvma.org/news/reports-of-severe-canine-infectious-respiratory-disease-in-oregon
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments/riney-canine-health-center/canine-health-information/canine-respiratory-disease-outbreaks
American Veterinary Medical Association: https://www.avma.org/news/oregon-dealing-respiratory-illness-incidents-dogs
Worms and Germs blog: AWESOME resource for everything pet-ownership but also has updates and information about respiratory illnesses: https://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/2023/12/articles/animals/dogs/canine-infectious-respiratory-disease-update-dec-1-2023/
Trupanion recording of webinar: https://k9illness.trupanion.com/
UC Davis Veterinary Medicine information page: https://healthtopics.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/health-topics/mystery-respiratory-illness-dogs