Colorado dogs threatened by mysterious, potentially fatal respiratory illness

Verity, a rescued black Labrador puppy, was in Colorado for eight days when her new foster family realized she was sick.

Rocky Mountain Lab Rescue board member Jo Schroeder heard from Verity’s foster family on Aug. 10, just a day after welcoming the eight-week-old puppy.

Verity looked thinner and was less active, her foster family said. His symptoms quickly worsened: wide eyes, fever, refusal to eat, coughing and rapid breathing. Schroeder and the foster family took Verity to the vet, but they couldn’t figure out what the puppy had gotten and referred the group to emergency services.

Verity was hospitalized for three days as veterinary staff tried to treat her symptoms and await test results, but her condition continued to worsen.

“She was just too small to fight it off, she didn’t even have an immune system yet,” Schroeder said. “She was hospitalized from August 11 to 14, and the doctor said she couldn’t fight it anymore and we had to put her on bed rest.”

Illness with similar symptoms has been officially reported in at least four states: Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon and Rhode Island. The first alarm bells were raised in August, when the Oregon Department of Agriculture began receiving reports of an “atypical canine infectious respiratory disease” circulating in the Portland and Portland metropolitan areas. Willamette Valley.

Maggie Baldwin, state veterinarian with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, said it was too early to tell if it was a new disease.

“We don’t know exactly what we’re seeing, and we don’t know if it’s something new,” she said.

It’s not uncommon to see outbreaks of respiratory illnesses in dogs, Baldwin said.

What’s different about this disease is the number of dogs affected — Baldwin estimates that’s double the number the state would normally see in an outbreak, although the department doesn’t keep a tally official – and how long it lasts.

A typical respiratory illness can make a dog sick for a week or 10 days and it will respond to treatment, Baldwin said. But with this disease, dogs get sick for weeks or months, and standard treatments don’t help.

Gn Health

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