Vet shares symptoms of mystery respiratory illness in dogs, answers viewers’ questions


(LOS ANGELES) — With cases of a serious respiratory illness affecting dogs on the rise, veterinarians are trying to figure out what is making these canines so sick.

The unknown illness has been reported in multiple states, including Oregon, California and Colorado.

Dr. Lindsey Ganzer, a veterinarian and the owner and CEO of North Springs Veterinary Referral Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has treated 35 such cases so far.

What are the symptoms of the illness affecting dogs?

Ganzer told “Good Morning America” one of the symptoms of the mystery illness is a cough that can last for weeks.

“Typical signs are starting with a cough, eye or nasal discharge, progressing to more of a wet cough, lethargy, fever, not wanting to eat,” Ganzer said.

“You’ll notice that their respiratory rate and effort are increased. Their gums might turn blue or purple,” Ganzer continued.

With an estimated 50 million Americans hitting the road for Thanksgiving, Ganzer responded to “GMA” viewers’ questions and concerns about how to keep their furry friends safe during the upcoming holiday season.

Should I take any precautions to avoid the respiratory illness?

Ganzer recommends staying away from boarding or bringing your dog to an environment with other dogs, at least temporarily.

“Most important thing is to avoid any areas where there are a lot of dogs in that space. So avoid boarding them. Avoid doggie day cares, going to the groomer, going to dog parks,” Ganzer said.

Are cats affected by the respiratory illness?

“Right now, we’re only seeing it in dogs,” Ganzer said. “Typically, bacteria and viruses don’t necessarily spread from species to species. So I would say dogs right now.”

How can I keep my dog from getting the respiratory illness?

“We don’t know how it’s spread, whether it is direct contact or whether it is through the air. If your dog is symptomatic, definitely get seen by a veterinarian sooner rather than later,” Ganzer said. “The earlier that treatment starts, the better chance they have of not progressing and developing into a pneumonia.”

What if my dog is showing symptoms of the respiratory illness?

Experts like Ganzer say if owners do see their pets exhibiting symptoms of the mystery illness, they should apply the best practices we learned from the coronavirus pandemic and isolate the dog and then seek medical attention.


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