A rare respiratory disease is affecting dogs across the country and veterinarians still don’t know its cause. Symptoms start like a cold, but then the condition is complicated by a dry cough, which gets worse day by day.
Veterinarians are investigating the cause of the disease, but above all its treatment, as this rare whooping cough is highly contagious and can be fatal as in some cases the animals do not respond to antibiotic treatment.
According to testimony from veterinarians, the disease emerged in the summer, but has resurged in recent months.
We spoke to Dr. Emily Abraham, medical director of GoodVets in Miami, who has treated five dogs with the disease over the past month and told us everything you need to know about this uncommon condition.
What do veterinarians know about this disease so far?
Most veterinarians who treat this disease agree that the symptoms are similar to those of a cold which develop into the famous kennel cough, which is common in dogs kept in kennels.
Symptoms that doctors have seen in dogs suffering from this disease include lethargy, discharge from the eyes and nose, cough and difficulty breathing. Some dogs have mild symptoms that persist for weeks.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture first received more than 100 written reports about the disease from veterinarians in August. Over time, cases also spread west, and the San Diego Humane Society temporarily suspended accepting owner-surrendered dogs until the following month to prevent further spread.
How to recognize if your dog has this mysterious disease?
In addition to the typical symptoms of a cold, pet owners should also pay attention to the little signs that dogs give before the illness turns into a serious cough.
“If they are overcrowded, puppies will not eat because smell is very important to puppies,” the veterinarian says. “If one day he gives you a little cough, contact the veterinarian. “The sooner treatment is started, the sooner it will be resolved and the longer we wait, the more complicated it will become.”
What tests should be done on a pet?
Because veterinarians have not yet identified whether it is a viral or bacterial disease, they have not been able to develop a universal treatment to cure this disease. But most agree that basic tests should be performed to evaluate a pet’s health.
“First we take films to see how the lungs are working, because it could turn into pneumonia, and we do blood tests to see how the white blood cells and the immune system are working,” says Abraham. Have been.”
Another way to know what type of bacteria or virus they are dealing with is to conduct tests such as those conducted on humans during the COVID 19 pandemic.
“In some cases we’ve seen it’s a combination of infections like Bordetella or coronavirus and other respiratory conditions in animals,” says Abraham.
What treatment should dogs receive?
Veterinarians and pet owners have expressed concern that dogs do not respond after receiving antibiotic treatment for 10 days, and several dogs have died due to complications of the disease.
Dr. Abraham says he followed a different protocol for the five dogs he treated, all of whom are still alive.
“The cases I’ve seen in the last month required more treatment, at least 20 or 21 days of antibiotics,” the doctor says.
The veterinarian says that this is a disease in which you have to be patient. He comments that many times pet owners become frustrated because they do not get immediate results from medications and change treatments or veterinarians without giving the protocols a chance to take action.
“Sometimes it’s viral, and sometimes it’s caused by bacteria. In any case, it is good to keep him on antibiotics for a long time, even if he no longer has a cough, for at least a week after the cough is over, but it depends on each case,” explains Abraham.
In addition, it is important to pay attention to other discomforts that a strong cough may cause in pets, such as a sore throat. Abraham, who also practices integrative medicine, recommends the use of manuka honey, known as a “superfood” that helps with allergies, colds, flu, gingivitis, sore throats, staph infections and many other types of diabetes. Treats many diseases including wounds.
“It’s an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial and when they have a cough I give them a quarter teaspoon of it and it helps them control the cough and inflammation in the trachea and bronchi,” explains Abraham.
The medical director of GoodVets in Miami comments that it is important for pets to be under constant surveillance, as this condition reduces the animal’s defenses, allowing it to become infected with other diseases.
How to protect your dog from getting infected?
It is very important if you have several pets and one of them has symptoms of this disease, that you isolate it from the rest as it is highly contagious.
Dr. Abraham recommends limiting interactions with other dogs for now. “For now, as infections are rising, I suggest they do not take their dogs to parks or to socialize in restaurants. “Let them stay at home”
Additionally, Abraham recommends strengthening the dog vaccination schedule, administering the Bordetella vaccine every six months, and administering the influenza vaccine annually for all patients.
Do you have a dog or cat that eats these foods? These have been withdrawn from the market due to the risk of Salmonella