There are reports of a respiratory disease outbreak in dogs across the United States, but local veterinarians are urging pet owners not to panic.
Dog owners are in an uproar after stories of a “mystery disease” spreading in the US, but local experts are urging people not to panic.
Major news outlets across North America have warned of a “mysterious respiratory illness” that has been sweeping the nation over the past few months. But Dr. Scott Weese, a veterinarian and professor at the Ontario Veterinary College and a leading infectious disease expert, says he’s not convinced that new diseases are on the rise, or even that large-scale outbreaks are occurring. I haven’t.
What on earth is going on?
Reports indicate that dogs develop coughing symptoms that last longer than normal, ranging from weeks to months. Secondary infections do not always respond to conventional treatments. Some dogs have developed pneumonia and some have died.
“The problem is that it pretty much describes our normal state,” Weese said in the paper. blog post It was published earlier this week.
Respiratory disease is endemic in dogs and has a variety of known causes. Veterinarians regularly monitor this condition, but it usually goes unnoticed.
In fact, Weese receives emails every year asking if respiratory diseases in dogs are on the rise or if there’s a more serious spread.
“To me, it reflects that cycles are always present and we sometimes become aware of them.”
In an interview, he likened this to cold and flu season.
“I have no idea how many people in Guelph are suffering from colds. It’s a lot of people. But when all of a sudden people start talking about it, you realize that everyone is getting sick. , we can overreact to it,” he said.
This is especially true because, like the common cold, respiratory illnesses in dogs usually cannot be tested for. For example, symptoms like kennel cough usually clear up on their own in one to two weeks, but only if cough suppressants and antibiotics are needed.
For example, if 100 dogs in Guelph currently have kennel cough, there is no way to determine whether that number is high or low.
“That’s a problem when you’re trying to evaluate a situation like this. There’s just no standard of comparison,” he said.
Severity is not necessarily a major cause for alarm. When exposed, it is common for a small percentage of dogs to become seriously ill or die from respiratory disease, he said. Dogs at high risk include older dogs, dogs with existing illnesses or medical conditions, and breeds with “squishy faces.”
Dogs that regularly interact with strangers, such as at dog parks, may also be at greater risk than dogs that don’t, he said.
But at this point, Weese said, “we have no idea if anything is going on.” All we know is that more people are talking about respiratory illnesses in dogs, but we don’t know if more cases are actually occurring. ”
So the question is, is this increase in respiratory illnesses something completely new, or did the media and social media simply draw attention to something that normally goes unnoticed, causing an outbreak? is.
At this point, Weese suspects that he has noticed a slight increase in baseline disease in recent years, or that normal disease activity is receiving more attention.
Highway 24 Veterinary Clinic echoed similar sentiments in an email to customers earlier this week, saying the disease is mysterious simply because “a common pathogen linking all these cases has not been identified. He emphasized that this was the only reason.
The clinic says, “Just like humans, viruses can change (mutate) and bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics. That’s why it’s so important to use antibiotics correctly. It is important for
“Here at the Highway 24 Veterinary Clinic, we often see coughing dogs, but we have never seen a case of this severe respiratory disease,” the email said. “Experts are working hard to determine whether there are in fact entirely new pathogens, but it is possible that these are problems associated with the same viruses and bacteria we already know. It’s highly sexual.”
Still, Dr. Lukas Yuricek, the clinic’s veterinarian, said he has heard from many concerned customers in recent days and wanted to make sure he listened to their concerns without causing anxiety.
“One of the challenges we face as veterans is finding the right balance of education and information without inciting fear,” he says.
It’s natural for people to worry about a mysterious respiratory illness after experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic, but “at the moment, a lot of people are talking about it, but compared to other diseases, it’s not as common.” There’s no big difference.” Similar things have happened for years. ”
“So we continue to have a normal level of caution and concern, but there is nothing to panic about,” he said.
There’s no need to keep dogs indoors to avoid exposure, but both Wies and Yuricek agree there’s no harm in taking extra precautions, such as avoiding dog parks, for the time being.
Yuricek said vaccines for the most common respiratory diseases are also an option, although not mandatory.
“If your dog is sick, keep him at home. Keep your dog away from visibly sick dogs. Try to limit the number of dogs your dog encounters,” Weese said. .
After all, he said, “upper respiratory tract infections and kennel cough are occurring now, and they are occurring more frequently, as opposed to new puzzles like the coronavirus that will arrive and change the situation significantly.” I think that there may be.”
But neither Weese nor Yuricek deny that something is happening, they just don’t have enough data to decide whether it’s worth panicking.
“In the age of media, things spread so quickly that sometimes it takes time for the facts to catch up,” Yuricek said.