Mysterious Respiratory Disease

By now, most of you have probably seen the news or heard about this new “mysterious” respiratory disease that is affecting dogs around the country. The news seems to have started on the East coast, then popped up in the Chicago area, Oregon, and Colorado. It has been hard to keep track of exactly where people are noticing things.

You may be asking if it is “in New Mexico yet?” There is a problem with answering that because we don’t know what “IT” is yet! Do dogs in New Mexico get the Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex? Of course, they can. But is this something new? We don’t know.

This “mysterious” canine respiratory disease outbreak might, in fact, be multiple different outbreaks caused by various known pathogens, as the “disease patterns aren’t consistent with the emergence of a new highly transmissible pathogen,” says AVMA President Dr. Rena Carlson. Respiratory pathogens are known to spread quickly in communal settings, and the common denominator in most cases appears to be exposure to other dogs at dog parks, boarding facilities, pet daycares, and similar settings.

There are multiple places, including veterinary schools, that are frantically trying to find out if this is a new pathogen or a combination of things we’ve seen before. Until we have some answers, common sense should be our guide.

Make sure your dog is up to date on all vaccines, and if you are concerned, ask about the bordetella vaccine and the canine influenza vaccine (which is in short supply, by the way, so be patient). If you can, avoid places where there are lots of dogs in a small area, such as doggy daycare, boarding facilities, dog parks, etc. Just walking or hiking with your dog in the outdoors should NOT increase your risk.

Then if your dog starts to act sick in any way, call your veterinarian and get seen as soon as you can. Be patient with them too! If everyone is calling, it may take a bit longer to get in.