As of early December, there have been documented reports of a mysterious dog respiratory illness and unconventional pneumonia named Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex across the nation, including Indiana, according to an Indy Vet press release. The disease originally surfaced in the Northeast and has since spread across the nation to 14 states. The exact number of cases remains unknown at this time.
According to Scientific American, the last time veterinarians identified a significant similar dog disease was canine influenza virus in 2004.
Since early August, the Oregon Department of Agriculture has received more than 200 reports of CIRDC from veterinarians in Oregon, according to American Veterinary Medical Association.
Researchers and veterinarians are investigating the significance of this illness and do not yet have a confirmatory test.
“Researchers are actively investigating whether this constitutes a singular pathogenic organism with diverse presentations or if multiple causative agents are at play,” Indy Vet said in the press release.
The Indy Vet press release said it is important to recognize kennel cough, a respiratory infection caused by bacteria and viruses, is more prevalent during the holiday season with more indoor activities, social gatherings and increased canine care services such as grooming and boarding.
Dr. Melissa Justice, a veterinarian at State of Indiana Board of Animal Health, said it is important to realize there is no definite answer to what causes CIRDC.
“It's impossible to say that it's confirmed in Indiana,” Justice said. “We are getting reports of this illness, but no one has the ability to test for it.”
Justice said veterinarians are used to kennel cough and most often expect it to last 7-10 days. She said that with CIRDC, veterinarians are seeing coughs, lethargy and fevers that have been lasting for 6-8 weeks.
Justice said that there are a few reports of dogs getting acutely sick and reporting death in some states, but there is no way to confirm it was caused from CIRDC.
“No one should panic, no one should be concerned, just be aware,” Justice said.
Justice suggested dog owners make deliberate decisions about where to take their pet, ensure their pet is up to date on vaccinations their vet recommends, especially if they are exposed to daycare and boarding facilities, and to be aware of how their animal is feeling, especially in social situations.
Justice also recommended pet owners act quicker than normal if they see any symptoms such as lethargy and cough.
“This illness is out there, and we don’t know what is causing it,” Justice said. “Pet owners need to make good, informed decisions.”