Nov. 19 (UPI) — Dog owners and veterinarians are growing increasingly concerned over a highly contagious, possibly fatal respiratory illness spreading in several states.
The mystery illness starts as a cough that can last weeks and doesn’t respond to normal treatments, like antibiotics. It can then morph into severe pneumonia that can leave a dog struggling to breathe. The American Veterinary Medical Association said the pneumonia can get worse in as little as 24 to 36 hours.
“It seems to happen very, very quickly – to go from this cough that just won’t go away … and then all of a sudden they develop this pneumonia,” Lindsey Ganzer, veterinarian and CEO at North Springs Veterinary Referral Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, told TODAY.com.
The illness was detected in Oregon in August with more than 100 reported cases. Since then, the Oregon Department of Agriculture receive 100 additional reports and is working to find a commonality among the dogs with illnesses.
In Colorado, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo canceled its Dog Days event slated for Nov. 21-23 “out of an abundance of caution around a circulating unknown canine respiratory illness.” The event invited families to bring their dogs to the zoo.
“We apologize for any disappointment, but we want to do our part to help keep our guests’ furry family members safe this holiday season,” zoo official said.
The San Diego Humane Society temporarily stopped accepting dogs until Dec. 1 due to the illness.