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Recognizing the Warning Signs of Canine Respiratory Illness

Canine respiratory illness is a dangerous new viral or bacterial illness that has been detected in dogs across the United States. Dogs who become infected with this canine respiratory illness can develop severe symptoms rapidly, so the sooner you get them veterinary care, the better chance they have at surviving. Here are the signs and symptoms of the illness, the risk factors, how to protect your dog, and what to do if you think your dog has the illness.

Risk Factors for Canine Respiratory Illness

Certain factors and environments increase your dog’s risk of becoming infected with a respiratory illness:

  • Traveling.
  • Spending time with other dogs in close quarters.
  • Dog boarding facilities, grooming facilities, and kennels.
  • Animal shelters. 
  • Dog parks.
  • Homes with other dogs.
  • Touching noses with or sniffing other dogs on walks.
  • Dogs that are immunocompromised or have an underlying breathing condition.
  • Brachycephalic dog breeds.

Symptoms of Canine Respiratory Illness

Veterinarians and experts don’t yet know very much about this illness. They believe it may be a superbug. The most commonly reported symptoms of the illness are:

  • Coughing.
  • Sneezing.
  • Eye or nose discharge.
  • Watery or red eyes.
  • Fatigue or lethargy.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Blue or purple gums.
  • Fever.
  • Decreased appetite.

How to Protect Your Dog

You can reduce your dog’s risk of becoming ill by:

  • Avoiding contact with other dogs.
  • Preventing your dog from drinking out of communal water bowls. 
  • Not sharing dog toys.
  • Avoid grooming facilities, dog parks, kennels, and boarding facilities.
  • Limiting travel with your dog. 
  • Being careful when taking your dog out in public.

What to Do if Your Dog is Sick

The illness progresses quickly from mild symptoms to chronic and acute pneumonia. Once a dog has pneumonia, their overall health can deteriorate in 24-36 hours. If your dog is sick, especially if they have the symptoms or risk factors listed above, you should visit your veterinarian or a veterinary hospital right away.