As a mysterious respiratory dog illness makes its way to various states across the country, including California, San Luis Obispo County has no confirmed cases, according to Animal Services.

Animal Services Manager of San Luis Obispo County, Eric Anderson, said there’s little information on whether this outbreak is new or related to other respiratory illnesses commonly seen in dogs.

“The reality is - there’s a number of respiratory diseases in dogs which have similar potential. So while this may or may not be something new, I think applying appropriate and normal animal management health practices is what’s appropriate here,” Anderson said.

He recommends dog owners take the following precautions:

  • Get your animals vaccinated
  • Avoid risky situations with unknown dogs where illness may be present
  • Don't take sick dogs into public areas

Anderson explained that dogs spread illness through contact with other sick dogs, just as humans do.
“These respiratory diseases, most of them are spread through some degree of close contact and an inhalation of the infectious organism….so usually if they’re near another dog that is coughing or sneezing then sort of breathing some of that exhaled or transmitted pathogen…” Anderson said.

Atascadero Pet Hospital and Emergency Center issued the following statement:

“Our Veterinary Team strongly encourages pet parents to keep their dogs up to date on the vaccinations that protect them from respiratory illness such as Bordetella and K9 Influenza. If a pet owner is concerned about boarding or grooming facilities, we encourage them to ask the facility about the precautions taken to avoid the spread of contagious diseases so they can make an informed decision about their pet's care and well-being.”

They also included a list of symptoms to watch for in your dog: “lethargy, fever, coughing, nasal/ocular discharge, and/or decreased appetite.”

Anderson, however, urged pet parents to avoid unnecessary panic about the illness.

“We haven’t heard of anything here locally and again, the number of cases that are being described are small enough that I think it’s worth people being aware and cautious about, but not being overly reactive or panicked about,” Anderson said.

Paso Robles Dog Owner Jeanette Pahler said she read an article about the illness and has been keeping close watch over her dog, Ivy.

“I saw that [the illness] was in California…[Ivy] hasn’t had any of those symptoms but it made me, you know, be aware to watch for it,” Pahler said.

Pahler uses caution with Ivy to prevent her dog from contracting the illness.

“We’re careful where we walk her. We don’t go to dog parks and we’re careful about the other dogs she’s around,” Pahler said.

If you are concerned your dog may be showing signs of the illness, contact your vet and seek medical attention.

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