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Portland-area veterinarians, ODA looking for cause of respiratory illnesses affecting dogs


PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — Veterinarians are warning dog owners about a respiratory illness impacting canines in and around the Portland metro area, but much is still under investigation and not determined, KGW reported.

“It's a canine infectious disease, but we don't know exactly what it's caused by,” said Dr. Sarah Tauber, a staff veterinarian at Dove Lewis. “We're not finding just one bug that is causing all of these dogs to be sick.”

Tauber said cases of the mysterious illness peaked over the summer, but the disease is still spreading. In severe cases, she said dogs have been hospitalized and have died within a couple of days of getting sick. 

In other cases, many dogs show milder symptoms that stick around for weeks and don't respond to antibiotics. Tauber said symptoms doctors have been noticing in dogs with the illness include being lethargic, eye and nose discharge, coughing and labored breathing.

“Just be really in tune with your dog,” said Tauber. “If you're seeing any of the acute signs… contact your veterinarian as soon as they start to show.”

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is working with veterinarians in the Portland metro and surrounding areas to track the cases.

“We're actually gathering information right now,” said Tauber. “There are many clinics that are gathering samples, so that we can hopefully start getting more information.”

Tauber noted that dogs that are older or younger and those with other ailments seem to be at higher risk for the respiratory illness. She said they might benefit from avoiding large groups of dogs right now and that owners should ensure that their dogs are up to date on vaccinations. 

If your dog is showing symptoms, and you take them to the vet, Tauber said you should keep them in the car instead of bringing them right into the clinic to make sure they're properly isolated. 

As for human contact, though, Dr. Tauber said that there’s no evidence that this disease is transferred to or from humans, so there’s no need to isolate from your dog if they are sick.

Article Topic Follows: Pets

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