Mysterious respiratory virus spreading among dogs in US

Mysterious respiratory virus spreading among dogs in US

A mystery illness is spreading among dogs in some parts of the US, baffling vets who can’t work out what is causing it. 

Cases of the disease – which can be fatal – started appearing in Oregon, in the Pacific northwest, in August.

The state has now recorded more than 200 cases, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA).

Other cases have been reported in the states of Colorado, Illinois and New Hampshire, on the east coast.

The cases seem to share a viral cause but so far testing for common respiratory illnesses has drawn a blank.

Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, nasal and eye discharge, and lethargy.

Dog owners in the US are advised to take their dog to the vet if they develop any symptoms.

The illness often presents as a cough that can last eight weeks or longer, which may not respond to typical treatments.

Dogs may also develop pneumonia, which again may not respond to treatment.

In some cases, pneumonia “rapidly becomes severe”, the ODA said, and “often leads to poor outcomes in as little as 24-36 hours”.