Veterinarians at the Avon Lake Animal Clinic said the puzzling puppy virus has not reached Northeast Ohio, but they are urging dog owners to be vigilant about their pet’s health, especially as the holidays approach.
The mysterious illness has symptoms that include a persistent cough, fever, runny nose, lethargy, and a loss of appetite.
“I guess the concerning part is when they’re running the tests, they can’t isolate what the organism is. It’s not responding to the typical antibiotics,” Dr. Frank Krupka, who has 24 years of experience at Avon Lake Animal Clinic, told FOX 8 News.
“For the most part, these respiratory diseases kind of run their course, but the one we seem to have going on right now appears to be lagging. It’s not that typical 10 to 14 days of sickness. We’re getting two to three months of sickness.”
Even though the illness has not reached Ohio, veterinarians are concerned because after being first diagnosed in Oregon, the virus quickly spread eastward.
“You’re not going to have a bacteria or a virus travel by itself. It has to have a host, it has to have a pet that it is traveling with. And it’s when you get a bunch of dogs together and they share some of their common germs, and maybe it’s a germ they’ve not been exposed to before. So they get sick from it, kind of like our kids in a daycare or in our schools,” said Krupka.
Veterinarians said owners need to be aware of the illness during the holiday travel season and use caution if their pet is sick or could come into contact with other dogs that are ill.
“We need to be conscious if our pet is a carrier of disease. Please don’t take them to the boarding facility, don’t take them to the dog park, don’t try to sneak in, hoping, ‘well, I just need the dog to be there for two days,'” said Krupka. “If your dog is sick, think about the community and let’s not share disease.”
So far, the illness has been reported in 10 states, with the largest concentration of cases being in the western U.S.