Veterinarians warn of an increase in cases of a “mysterious” disease in dogs

Veterinarians across the country are expressing concern over an increase in dogs showing symptoms of coughing, which is causing concern among pet owners and experts alike. Idaho resident Wendy Brown experienced this firsthand with her three golden retrievers, Bridge, Dooley and Lulu.

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In early November, Brown noticed alarming signs in her pets. “Dooley started giggling and seemed to be feeling pretty lethargic,” Brown shared on Good Morning America. Soon after, Bridge and Lulu followed suit, exhibiting similar symptoms. At first, Brown suspected a typical kennel cough, but the persistence and severity of their condition prompted more concern.

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After a visit to the vet, Dooley was prescribed a 10-day course of doxycycline. However, Brown did not report any significant improvement in his condition, which increased her concern about the unknown illness.

Veterinary experts such as Amanda Kavanagh of the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital have confirmed that this mysterious disease appears to be highly contagious and potentially fatal. Symptoms are similar to kennel cough, including coughing, sneezing, nasal and eye discharge, and lethargy. However, Kavanagh noticed a change from a dry to a wet cough, indicating a more serious illness, perhaps even pneumonia.

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Given the contagious nature of the disease, Kavanagh advises pet owners to see a vet if their dog is constantly coughing. Advanced diagnostics, such as an ultrasound of the lungs, can help determine whether the cause is related to pneumonia or an infectious strain that is currently circulating. In addition, she recommends isolating coughing dogs from others and continuing that isolation for two weeks after symptoms disappear to curb the spread of this mysterious disease. As research continues, the veterinary community is on high alert in an effort to understand and combat this new threat to canine health.

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