Infectious illness infiltrating canines

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is warning dog owners of an atypical canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRDC) affecting canines in the Willamette Valley area as well as the Portland Metro area. 

According to the ODA and Oregon Veterinary Medical Association, reported cases often appear as one of three clinical ailments: 

• Chronic mild-moderate tracheobronchitis with a prolonged duration (6-8 weeks or longer) that is minimally or not responsive to antibiotics. 

• Chronic pneumonia that is minimally or not responsive to antibiotics. 

• Acute pneumonia that rapidly becomes severe and often leads to poor outcomes in as little as 24-36 hours. 

Dogs are the most likely to contract this infection by being around numerous other dog, such as in kennels, a day care, dog parks or at the groomers. 

While a number sources for the illness have been found, the ODA is currently working with experts from OSU’s Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine (CCVM), the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (OVDL), and the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (USDA-NVSL) to better understand and address the issue. 

So far the cause of the reported illnesses is thought to be from a similar source, though at least nine different bacteria and viruses have been found as the cause for reported cases of CIRDC. 

Common symptoms of CIRDC include coughing, sneezing, nasal and/or eye discharge and lethargy. 

Pet owners can protect their dog from CIRDC by: 

• Reducing contact with large numbers of unknown dogs. Just like with other respiratory pathogens, the more contacts your dog has, the greater the risk of encountering a dog that’s infectious. 

• Reducing contact with sick dogs. This can be harder to determine but if a dog looks sick (coughing, runny nose, runny eyes), keep your dog away from it. 

• Keep sick dogs at home and seek veterinary care. 

• Avoid communal water bowls shared by multiple dogs. 

• If it’s sick, consider having your dog tested with a PCR test to help determine the causative agent (viral/bacterial), if possible.