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Mysterious respiratory dog illness

Updated on Dec. 3rd, 2023 

The outbreak of the mysterious illness has spread to dogs across the country.  When the reports started coming in about a respiratory illness outbreak in New Hampshire dogs, in summer 2022, David Needle and his colleagues immediately began investigating. 

What is this illness?

Veterinarians across the country are reporting an increased incidence of cases of canine respiratory disease that does not respond to regular treatment protocols. Affected dogs experience a longer and more severe disease course than is typical for canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRD) complex. A common etiology or set of etiologies has not been determined.


What to Watch for - Common Signs of Respiratory Disease

  • Coughing

  • Sneezing

  • Labored breathing

  • Nose or eye discharge

  • Lethargy

  • Decreased appetite


Respiratory diseases commonly spread through direct contact, through water droplets from sneezing and coughing, or via fomites (contaminated objects and surfaces).

  • Avoid high-risk situations for your dogs such as boarding kennels, dog parks, and doggy day care facilities if you are unsure about the health status of other dogs in those environments.

  • Don’t share dog bowls, toys or doggy chews between dogs. Make sure your dog is up to date on their routine vaccinations.
    Check with your veterinarian if you are unsure when your dog was last routinely vaccinated.


Where to find more information:

  • Please check back here periodically on developments regarding this widespread canine respiratory illness. We are sourcing information from experts from across the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine regarding things to know to keep your dogs safe.

  • The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (USDA NVSL)


What is being done:

  • A resource on diagnostics for veterinary practitioners can be found here.

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