In The News: A Reported Increase in Respiratory Disease in Dogs

There has been an increase in reporting of respiratory diseases in dogs. It has primarily been reported in several US states, and a specific new causative agent has yet to be identified. Contagious respiratory disease in dogs (kennel cough or the canine infectious respiratory disease complex) is common and can be caused by multiple viral and bacterial causes. Kennel cough (or CIRDC) is airborne and highly contagious. Dogs exposed to more crowded environments, such as shelters, kennels, and daycare centers, where several dogs are assembled, are more at risk. Dogs can become infected with CIRDC simultaneously by two or more different species of bacteria or viruses. Several often-implicated pathogens include the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica, the canine parainfluenza virus, and the canine adenovirus type 2. CIRDC is not a new disease.  However, the increased frequency of the reporting (in the news but also discussed on professional discussion boards) and the progression and severity in some cases have given rise to more concern than in the past. Dr. Weese of Worms & Germs gives this advice to worried dog parents concerned by canine respiratory disease:
  • Limit your dog’s contacts, especially transient contacts with dogs of unknown health status.
  • Keep your dog away from sick dogs.
  • If your dog is sick, keep it away from other dogs.
  • Talk to your vet about vaccination against canine parainfluenza (CPIV) and Bordetella bronchiseptica (plus canine influenza, but that’s much more sporadic, and vaccine availability is still an issue).