New Mystery Illness in Dogs: What You Need to Know

Since late 2023, there’s been a lot of talk about a mystery illness in dogs, catching the attention of pet owners and the media across multiple states. With so much concern, dog owners need to get accurate and reliable information. That’s where we come in. At Providence Veterinary Hospital and Clinic in Alameda, California, our team is on top of the latest developments and ready to support you and your pet through any situation related to their health and safety. If you’re worried about your dog or just want more information, give us a call at (510) 521-6608 or (510) 521-5775. Let’s dive into what this mystery illness in dogs is all about and how you can help keep your pet protected.

mystery illness in dogs in alameda, ca

What is this Mystery Illness in Dogs?

Recent reports have highlighted outbreaks of canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC) in various states, generating some concern among dog owners. This condition, often referred to as a “mystery illness,” has prompted researchers to investigate potential causes, including new pathogens. However, it’s important to note that outbreaks of CIRDC are not uncommon and the current situation should not be a cause for concern. 

A variety of bacteria and viruses can cause CIRDC, and at this point, it’s unclear which specific pathogens are behind the outbreak that started occurring late last year. It is possible that a new organism could be involved, but the pattern of the disease does not currently suggest a new, highly contagious pathogen is at play.

Most dogs with CIRDC experience mild symptoms and recover within a week to 10 days. Symptoms typically include a sudden, honking cough, and in some cases, sneezing or discharge from the nose or eyes. While most dogs recover with minimal issues, a small percentage may develop more severe illnesses based on the infecting organisms and their own immune response.

When Should Your Dog See the Vet?

If your dog shows any of the following signs, it’s time to seek immediate veterinary attention:

  • Persistent cough
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Signs that the illness is getting worse, such as vomiting from severe coughing

Certain factors can increase your dog’s risk of falling ill with CIRDC. These include being a short-nosed breed like French Bulldogs, being very young or of old age, having a compromised immune system, or having pre-existing respiratory or heart conditions.

Protecting Your Dog from CIRDC

Vaccination is key to protecting your dog against CIRDC. Keeping up with vaccines not only reduces your dog’s likelihood of becoming ill but also decreases the chances of severe disease and transmission to other dogs. An annual intranasal vaccine covering Bordetella, canine adenovirus type 2, and canine parainfluenza is recommended for optimal protection. Additionally, an injectable vaccine may also be advised if canine influenza is prevalent in your area. Our veterinarians at Providence Veterinary Hospital and Clinic can guide you on the best vaccination plan for your dog.

Further steps to safeguard your pet include limiting their interaction with other dogs, especially in large groups or with dogs of unknown health status. Washing your hands after handling other dogs can also help prevent the spread of infection. Avoid sharing toys, food, and water bowls with dogs outside your household to reduce the risk of transmission.

Staying informed about outbreaks and following advice from reputable sources (starting with your veterinarian) is essential. If your dog shows signs of illness, it’s important to keep them away from other dogs to prevent spreading the disease.

Call Providence Veterinary Hospital and Clinic for More Information

The risk to humans from CIRDC is extremely low, but keeping our pets healthy is a priority for all dog owners. If you have concerns about the mystery illness in dogs or want to ensure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date, please contact Providence Veterinary Hospital and Clinic in Alameda, California. Our experienced team is here to provide the care and information you need to keep your dog healthy. Call us today at (510) 521-6608 or (510) 521-5775 to schedule an appointment or to speak with a member of our veterinary team. 

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Providence Veterinary Hospital & Clinic serve Alameda, CA as well as Oakland, San Leandro, and the surrounding areas with superb veterinary medicine and gentle, compassionate care. We’ve been a part of this community since 1947 when a veterinarian started seeing pets in his home after the end of World War II. He built an animal hospital right under his house, and that’s where we remain to this day (with modern remodeling in 2016, to outfit the hospital with the latest medical technology and equipment, of course!).

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