DAVIS — A local veterinarian and UC Davis professor is telling pet owners not to panic after more cases of a mystery respiratory illness impacting dogs were detected across the United States. Dr. Karl Jandrey Clinical Professor, Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care is closely monitoring the cases.
"We have to be aware and be diligent, but we can't necessarily sound the alarm that a pandemic is coming for dogs. It's definitely not," Jandrey said.
Most cases remain mild and cause coughing, sneezing, and possible cases of pneumonia. While some dogs have died from the illness, it is rare. There are currently no cases detected in Northern California, but the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is working closely with universities on the East Coast to treat outbreaks.
"Therefore, we don't have a lot of information about this disease. We know it's affecting the lungs and the respiratory tract of dogs," Jandrey said. "The cases are sporadic, unanticipated, and pocketed throughout different areas of the United States that are not connected."
Initially traced to parts of the Northeast, the cases are not spreading at a rapid rate.
"It's a small handful of animals. It's not like an entire community of animals gets sick," Jandrey said. "It's 10 animals here, 40 animals over the course of six months."
While 10 suspected cases have been found in Southern California, holiday travel could impact the numbers if people took their dogs to holiday gatherings. There are steps you can take to protect your animal, by not letting them interact with unknown or sick dogs.
"If you are suspicious that something's happening with your dog that's off, things like nose, ocular discharge, soft cough, wet cough," Jandrey said listing possible symptoms. "Those symptoms can certainly lead you to seek veterinary attention."
Changes to your dog's appetite and energy level are also indicators. It's unclear how many cases exactly have been detected because there's not a clear testing system created yet, with so many questions about the origin of the virus or how it's being spread throughout the United States.
"That's why I think we can be aware and diligent, but not sound the alarm," Jandrey said.
You can learn more about the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine program here.
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