Respiratory illness is spreading in dogs this winter, and the Nevada Department of Agriculture is advising owners to take precautions to keep their dogs healthy this winter.

“We are monitoring the illness and are asking veterinarians across the state to report any cases with symptoms corresponding to those of this respiratory illness to the NDA,” said NDA State Veterinarian Peter Mundschenk, DVM. “We have received notice of possible suspected cases and encourage anyone who thinks their dog may be affected to notify your veterinarian so those cases may be properly reported and investigated.”

Symptoms similar to kennel cough, canine influenza

The American Veterinary Medical Association reports common symptoms as:

  • Chronic mild-moderate tracheobronchitis (a sudden or long-term inflammation of the trachea and bronchial airways, according to Merck Veterinary Manual) lasting six to eight weeks that is nonresponsive or barely responsive to antibiotics.
  • Chronic pneumonia not responsive to antibiotics.
  • Acute pneumonia that quickly turns severe sometimes in as little as 24-36 hours.
  • Difficulty or rapid breathing, wheezing, dehydration, fever, nasal or eye discharge, weight loss, loss of appetite and lethargy.

Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, nasal and eye discharge and general lethargy, similar to kennel cough and canine influenza, but the exact cause of the illness is still under investigation. Because the disease remains unidentified, the method of transmission is unknown, but University of New Hampshire’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory senior veterinary pathologist David Needle believes it's spread through close contact and breathing in the same air as an infected animal.

For now, the NDA is advising pet owners to keep their animals up-to-date on vaccinations including canine influenza, Bordetella and parainfluenza, as well as limiting exposure to other animals.

Dog owners are advised to reach out to their pet's veterinarian at the first sign of illness.

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