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Tips to keep your dog safe amid mysterious illness

Tips to keep your dog safe amid mysterious illness
Tips to keep your dog safe amid mysterious illness 02:11

BOSTON - The mystery dog illness going around the country has some pet owners concerned about their walks. Should people be avoiding other dogs? What about bowls of water outside of stores? The list of concerns is growing, so we spoke with the experts. 

"It's not new. We have been seeing these cases since fall of 2022," said Dr. Camille Alander, a veterinarian at Bond Vet in Boston. "As long as your dog is healthy, and up on their vaccination, there is not much they can't do at this point and time." 

Area veterinarians say the illness is not as threatening as people may think, however all public dog bowls should be avoided. They can carry a host of illnesses including the mystery illness, or leptospirosis which impacts the kidneys and the liver. 

The mystery illness resembles kennel cough and tends to progress into pneumonia. Right now, the pathogen of the disease is not showing up on typical tests, so vets are unsure if it is a virus or a bacteria. Vets suggest people make sure their groomers and day cares require vaccinations before sending your pet to those establishments. 

"My advice to pet owners is think about your dog, if you had the symptoms your dog is having. Would you run to the doctor? Same goes for your pet," explains Dr. Alander. "I have seen a lot of dog owners where their pets coughed once or twice, and their pet owners are coming in. If they are lethargic, or not eating, or coughing stuff up, if they have yellow or goopy discharge from their nose, those are things to worry about." 

If your dog is up on its vaccinations, Dr. Alander says it is OK to let your dog interact with other animals. She recommends pet owners monitor the other dogs to make sure they appear healthy and aren't coughing. 

The mystery illness may pose a larger threat to pets that are predisposed to respiratory illnesses. Those are breeds with flat faces or short snouts like pugs or French bulldogs. 

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