December 13, 2023

Petzey Addresses Unidentified Respiratory Illness Spreading Amongst Dogs

Petzey, a leading on-demand mobile pet telehealth and wellness app, is addressing the recent outbreak of an unidentified respiratory illness affecting dogs across the country, from Oregon to Florida. The condition, which has yet to be officially named, presents symptoms similar to known respiratory viruses and subsequent bacterial infections. These include malaise, lethargy, weakness, inappetence, dehydration, wheezing and a persistent cough. The illness can progress to pneumonia, posing a severe health risk.

Dr. Danny Cox, Chief Veterinary Medical Officer at Petzey, said, “What we understand about this new respiratory bug is its resemblance to other respiratory viruses like last year’s canine flu, canine parainfluenza and treatable bacterial infections such as bordetella and pneumococcal pneumonia. Importantly, there is no evidence to suggest that this virus crosses species lines, with no indication of zoonotic transfer to humans. However, pet parents should exercise caution in homes with multiple pets.”

Because this new strain doesn’t discriminate based on age, breed or sex, Cox recommends avoiding areas that are heavily populated. “Keeping your dog away from other dogs, whether in dog parks, competitive dog shows or veterinary clinics, is crucial to prevent the spread of the virus. For non-emergency situations, Petzey encourages the use of pet telehealth services,” he adds.

Despite the seriousness, most cases respond positively to standard treatments, including antibiotics, cough suppressants, steroids and fluid therapy. Cox emphasizes prevention, advising against close confinement with other dogs, especially unvaccinated ones. He recommends ensuring pets are up-to-date with all veterinary-recommended vaccines.

“Proper vaccination significantly reduces the risk of weakening your dog’s immune system,” Cox adds. “In high-risk situations, consult your veterinarian about prophylactic treatments with antibiotics like azithromycin or doxycycline. However, we advise caution with drugs like chloramphenicol due to associated risks.”

Petzey is committed to providing the latest information and advice on this emerging health threat. Pet parents are encouraged to monitor their pets for symptoms and seek veterinary care if concerns arise.

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